Photo: Chipotle Mexican Grill
Undocumented immigrants who were working at Chipotle Mexican Grill say management-ignored signs that called workers immigration status into question.
“They know we’re hard workers and that we are going to do the job the way they want, so they will keep it quiet,” said Jose, 45, an undocumented Minnesota worker who was fired after nearly five years at Chipotle. He asked not to be identified because he has a job at another restaurant.
One employee claims to have been hired twice-using false social security numbers. The second hire came after the employee told her bosses she needed to change her social security because it belonged to someone else.
Illegal immigrants are vital to the work force in U.S. restaurants: estimates of the percentage of illegal workers in the food service industry range from around 10% to as much as 40%. While many restaurants rely on the undocumented, Chipotle was the highest profile company caught when immigration enforcement strategy switched to cracking down on employers rather than workers in 2009.