09 February 2011

Chipotle restaurant chain crackdown on workers without US Visas

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A popular Mexican restaurant chain has become the latest target of a US immigration crackdown on employers hiring illegal immigrants.

US Visa

A popular Mexican restaurant chain is being audited to check employees have a US Visa.

Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in Virginia and Washington, DC, will be audited by federal immigration officials to check that all employees have a valid US Visa or the right to work in the US.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Brigham said the agency is pushing a broader strategy of focusing on corporate hiring practices.

"We want employers to understand that the integrity of their employment records is just as important as their tax records," she said.

The goal of auditing companies, she said, is for immigration authorities to inspire the same level of compliance that the Internal Revenue Service creates.

The Denver-based chain received notices of inspections from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for about 60 restaurants, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Last year, an investigation into all Chipotle locations in Minnesota last year forced the company to fire some illegal workers.

Arnold warned that more employee dismissals may come, but would not specify how many had already been fired.

Arnold said Chipotle is working with immigration authorities to improve hiring practices and expanding participation in the government’s E-verify system, an online program that uses federal databases to check whether employees are in the country legally and authorized to work.

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