Brett Dreyer (Unit Chief, ICE Worksite Enforcement) spoke of the broader issue and politics of immigration enforcement. While politicians wrestle with immigration policy, the Worksite Enforcement Unit is responsible for enforcing the existing law utilizing its 26 Special Agent in Charge (SAC) districts and 150 smaller offices. The FY 2010 statistics certainly reveal that their new enforcement strategy is proceeding according to plan, with a record number of I-9 reviews and civil fines this year. Brett mentioned that ICE’s worksite focus will remain on employers and that I-9 inspections will most likely continue in “blasts” in all 50 states, which naturally increase public awareness and attention.
DENVER — Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. says it fired about 450 Minnesota employees last year who couldn't prove they were eligible to work in the U.S. [Sic. Most resign immediately when notified that there was a problem with the documents that were submitted as part of their hiring process. They also usually freely admit that they are illegal, either explicitly or by immediate resignation. This is true in almost all cases when an employer confronts employees with discrepancies concerning their documents. However the press and advocacy organizations almost always claim the former employees were fired.]
The Denver-based restaurant chain previously hadn't disclosed how many workers were dismissed after a Department of Homeland Security audit of employees' work documents, saying only that it was in the hundreds.
Chipotle disclosed the number in a filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chipotle says it requires all employees to have documents proving they are eligible to work in the U.S. but some workers may still be unauthorized.
A federal audit of workers' documents also is under way at Chipotle restaurants in Virginia and Washington, D.C., to see if their documents are authentic or contain false information.
By Thursday night, at least 12 people had been released for humanitarian reasons, including a mother who has a two year-old child that was left in the care of someone else. The mother has been released to care for the child but the father is still detained and they will still face deportation.