Sometimes it Takes a Hit Close to Home to Make a Point about Immigration Reform

Not everyone is as emotional about immigration reform because they think it does not affect them. When it hits home it comes a different story, and they take a sudden interest.

This is an interesting situation and it serves to point out that those who do not think immigration and immigration reform is an issue sometimes get a rude awakening. It is no secret that the government has been seriously pursuing immigration enforcement in a big way, racking up large numbers of deportations.

This story involves a big hit to a national chain restaurant that employed hundreds of undocumented workers. As the result of a silent raid, one where Immigration and Customs Enforcement examines a company’s records, the national chain was found to have over 500 undocumented workers. The Denver-based company also had to lay off over half of their 900 workers in Minnesota and lost countless others in Virginia and Washington.

Needless to say, this move just about halted the company, and left it in the awkward situation of having virtually no one to run their chains. The managers that they did have left were scrambling to find replacements. This became a serious issue, as qualified workers are hard to find and to be honest, despite claims that undocumented workers are taking jobs away from Americans, the fact is few Americans want restaurant or agricultural work. Where it once only took ten interviews to find a qualified worker, managers reported interviewing up to 40 candidates to find one person to fill a position.

As a net result of losing all those workers in one swoop, the head of the restaurant chain suddenly became a proponent of overhauling the immigration system. He got the message and now had one for the government, and it is simple – fix this type of situation as something needs to be done about it. Come to think of it, if you look at what those who are for reform want, it’s the very same thing – just fix what is broken and let’s get on with our lives.

One of the suggestions to fix situations where Americans don’t want the jobs, but someone has to fill the positions is a temporary guest-worker program for the agricultural sector. However, that kind of a solution does not work when employers need qualified labor 365 days a year. In this particular case, the restaurant chain expects to have 165 outlets in operation in 2012. This is an operation that will ultimately have about 30,000 workers, half of which are Latinos.

Immigration is certainly messed up. Is someone going to fix it? Who knows?
Sally Odell – Rifkin & Fox-Isicoff, PA is an immigration lawyer in Miami with immigration law offices in Orlando and Miami Florida. To learn more, visit

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