Dunkin’ Donuts Checks for Illegal Aliens
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