Dunkin’ Donuts Checks for Illegal Aliens

Discussion
May 30, 2006
George Anderson

By George Anderson


Dunkin’ Donuts shops can be found in a variety of neighborhoods, and the company and its franchisees are cognizant that employing workers in diverse communities often means hiring people whose first language is not English.


Stephen Horn, chief legal officer for Dunkin’ Brands Inc., told The Boston Globe in an email that the company is “proud to employ people from a variety of religious and ethnic backgrounds.” He did acknowledge, however, that some of the chain’s customers have questioned if employees with halting English might be in the U.S. illegally.


The company’s franchisees have recently begun posting signs in shop windows that read: “We follow the law! This company hires lawful workers only.”


The signs are part of a larger effort by the company to weed out any illegal aliens who might have found their way onto franchisee payrolls by submitting false Social Security or green card information.


The US Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Social Security Administration have developed a pilot program that will allow employers to verify a worker’s legal status from databases developed by the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security. Dunkin’ Donuts is requiring all franchisees to participate.


Shawn Saucier, a spokesman for US Citizenship and Immigration Services, said, “We want to make this so it’s easy for employers to use.”


If a worker is found to be working illegally in the U.S., said Mr. Saucier, an employer would have to fire that person immediately but not have to report the individual to immigration authorities.


Some wonder if the glitches in the system might do more harm than good and if the program is simply applying a band-aid to a much more serious wound.


“There’s just so many ways for immigration information to be misclassified, so until there are the right safeguards for a person to review the data that’s in there, we’re very concerned,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition. “The bigger point here is that we can pour all kinds of money and effort into enforcement like this, but unless we fix the immigration system we’re never really going to fix the problem.”


Mr. Saucier admitted that there have been some glitches in the system but that the departments are working to make the corrections necessary.


The pilot program may become mandatory if Congress passes a law requiring it. US Citizenship and Immigration Services has requested $134.9 million to implement the program. 


Moderator’s Comment: Will the pilot program described in The Boston Globe article significantly reduce the number of illegal aliens employed in
the U.S.? Considering that companies are now being given some means of verifying the legal status of workers, should there be larger fines or other penalties assessed against
employers who hire illegal aliens?
– George Anderson – Moderator

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11 Comments on "Dunkin’ Donuts Checks for Illegal Aliens"


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David Livingston
Guest
13 years 1 month ago

For Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees, this could be difficult. Many of them are aliens themselves. They may be hiring illegal family members off the books. I cannot recall ever going to a Dunkin’ Donuts anywhere and it was not fully staffed by those who were obviously some kind of ethnic group. I doubt the pilot program will go into effect at Dunkin’ Donuts. What is posted on the wall will probably be just for show. These business owners are trying to survive in an economy that often treats them unfairly. They will do what they need to do to survive.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
13 years 1 month ago
Pardon me, but the problem here is the law. The laws of the United States prescribe very defined processes for a foreigner to visit and work in the United States. When someone subverts this law they do an injustice to all who obey the law. To simply fire a law breaker and not call authorities, in my opinion, makes an employer as guilty as having an illegal worker and not firing him. One of the reasons our nation is a model for the rest of the world is because the citizens – in general – expect people to comply with the law and will pick up the phone and call the cops if they observe a theft, a mugging, etc. When an illegal is simply fired he is being told – go find a job somewhere else. If he is arrested and deported he is being told go home. If our government won’t take responsibility for enforcing the law then it is time for a change – change the law or change the government!
Mark Lilien
Guest
13 years 1 month ago

Great skepticism will greet the Dunkin’ Donuts signs. Many people clearly understand that low wage labor is frequently supplied by illegal aliens. Fines and jail terms for employers won’t matter because federal enforcement is almost nonexistent and there isn’t any local or state enforcement. Dunkin’ Donuts has many field inspectors. What training will they get related to labor practices enforcement? What follow-up will the franchisor exercise to be sure the signs tell the truth?

John Lansdale
Guest
John Lansdale
13 years 1 month ago

United States population is growing 10% a year, faster than many third world countries. The business of exploiting foreign workers is way too lucrative to be corrected by just a fine.

Stephan Kouzomis
Guest
Stephan Kouzomis
13 years 1 month ago

Another perspective:

As parents, if any of OUR young kids, teens, and/or young adults were working for minimal wage or less; and with limited benefits, if any, wouldn’t you as a parent be screaming to the proper authority, and voicing discontent?

So what is the difference with people, coming into our country and willing to work. A lot…taken advantage of….

Employers are guilty as they hire. Can’t wait for the manufacturing companies and produce farms to belly up to the bar, or “DON’T PASS GO”…GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL…OR PAY A SIZABLE FINE.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Len Lewis
Guest
Len Lewis
13 years 1 month ago

This is strictly for show and the full force and power of the U.S. Congress won’t make a damn bit of difference.

I defy anyone out there to find a single retailer that hasn’t — knowingly or not — hired illegal aliens.

John Crowe
Guest
John Crowe
13 years 1 month ago

Come on guys, the title “illegal” indicates they are in this country ILLEGALY! Those that hire them are hiring them illegally, thus breaking the law. Whether it is Dunkin’ Donuts, Wal-Mart or Joe’s Garage in your home town; these employers hire illegals for less than minimum wage, pay no benefits and dump them out into the Social Services network so Middle America can support them. Try going to Mexico or any OTM country and apply for a job with Wal-Mart or some other franchise operating there…you wont be hired. Do we even need to discuss the billions of dollars being sent out of the US by these illegals ?

I support a heavy fine for these employers ($25k) for each illegal hired and minimal jail time (90 days).

John Fermann
Guest
John Fermann
13 years 1 month ago

I understand that Social Security is matching up names with numbers. If they do not match and or if the number has never been issued the business is sent a notification to that effect. The employee has time to clear up any error (such as data entry on a number or name) and if it could not be cleared up the employee is dismissed. Not only is the illegal person being punished but with the cost of training the business is being punished also. Mass dismissals could spell doom for some organizations.

Matt Werhner
Guest
Matt Werhner
13 years 1 month ago

The pilot program developed can be a useful tool for companies that are willing to use it. Of course, the kinks must be worked out, and there must be a high degree of demonstrated accuracy. Penalizing companies for hiring illegal immigrants would help to reduce the number of illegal aliens employed in the U.S, but this would only be possible over an uncertain amount of time. In the meantime, society and the government would have to deal with issues relating to non-income generating illegal immigrants.

The severity of assessed penalties will play a large roll in this as well. The penalty of jail time has a more abrasive reality to it when compared to a monetary fine. Another factor would be public backlash toward companies that hire, but this depends on the degree of the response the general public has to those companies. Obviously, the public has made enough noise for Dunkin’ Donuts to take notice.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
13 years 1 month ago

Have to agree to an extent with David. My immediate reaction was that the signs are for customers who question whether or not anyone with an unusual (to their ear) accent is in the country legally and/or for authorities who also want to check up on them. It doesn’t strike me as any kind of deterrent to illegal workers or to the franchisee who may hire them.

Robert Craycraft
Guest
Robert Craycraft
13 years 1 month ago

It is interesting that in the May 31 edition of Retail Wire our editors proclaim that “(g)oing easy on employers that hire illegally…” was number one choice of respondents, when in reality 48% (versus 45%) said that the employer should be fined, sent to jail, or a combination of both (options 3, 4, and 5 combined).

As noted by the respondent above, not reporting a lawbreaker is tanatmount to endorsing his actions and should be a criminal act in itself. In fact, I believe it is.

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