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All US Businesses: Immigration Papers in Order?

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By Jason Beahm on February 22, 2011 8:52 AM

A recent crackdown at Chipotle Mexican Grill serves as a good example as to why you should make sure your business is complying with U.S. small business immigration laws. Chipotle was employing a number of undocumented workers and found itself the subject of immigration audits.

"We have been subject to audits by immigration authorities from time to time," said Chipotle's 2009 annual report which was filed in February 2010, Reuters reports.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reviewed documents submitted regarding their employees legal status in the United States, said company spokesman Chris Arnold. However, "at the time of that disclosure, we had not been notified by DHS or any other government agency that any of our worker documents were suspect ... [W]e had no notice of any issues with our employees until we received a Notice of Suspect Documents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement in November 2010," he added.

The fallout has forced Chipotle to fire hundreds of employees in Minnesota and the probe has expanded to Virginia and Washington D.C., Reuters reports.

It's certainly not the kind of situation you want to find yourself in. In order to avoid winding up in a bad small business immigration situation, make sure you examine immigration document and try to determine whether they reasonably appear on their face to be genuine and to relate to the person presenting them. If a document does not reasonably appear on its face to be genuine and actually relate to the person who is presenting it, then you must not accept it.

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