Restaurant Owner Admits To Hiring Undocumented Workers, Pleads 'Not Guilty' To Doing So

Along with hotels, the food preparation industry may be the sector that relies the most on undocumented workers. A White House crackdown on employers of such workers has been in effect since April of last year is putting increased pressure and heightened consequences — including tighter scrutiny increased fines — for business owners who take the risk of hiring such workers. A San Diego restaurant owner is going all in to fight the regulation. He has been indicted by a federal grand jury for hiring illegal immigrants, but has entered a not guilty plea and kept the workers in question on the staff.

The New York Times profiles the restaurant owner, who faces $4 million in fines, the loss of his restaurant and 30 years in prison.

The president of the California Restaurant Association tells the Times:

“They’re using a body of law intended for drug dealers and money launderers and going after an iconic bakery and philanthropic business. If their strategy is to get the attention of the industry, mission accomplished.”

If you’re connected to the restaurant industry, have you noticed a change in hiring practices since last year?

Immigration Crackdown Steps Into the Kitchen [New York Times]