Skip to comments.Firing illegal immigrants no joyful task
Posted on 05/27/2005 2:40:58 PM PDT by Conservative Firster
Lee Driscoll is cracking down on illegal immigrants in his restaurants.
And it's breaking his heart.
He's not just going the extra mile. He's taking the full trip.
And it's tearing him up inside.
He's going to fire as many as 51 of his employees - for crimes that include trying to make a living for their families.
And, Driscoll says, it's not unlike firing members of his own family.
"I think it will make me very emotional," he is saying on the day the story breaks. "I think it will make me cry."
Lee Driscoll is CEO of Wynkoop Holdings Inc., which runs the restaurants partly owned by John Hickenlooper. The restaurants are held in trust and Hickenlooper - while he's mayor - is supposed to have nothing to do with them.
But the restaurants, it turns out, have everything to do with Hickenlooper. If you don't believe me, just turn on your radio.
The mayor is facing the first real challenge of his administration. He got past the Christmas crisis with a funny Scrooge line, but jokes don't work here.
Raul Garcia-Gomez was a dishwasher at the Cherry Cricket - one of Hickenlooper's restaurants - when he allegedly killed Detective Donnie Young.
Like many dishwashers, he was an illegal immigrant.
Like many illegal immigrants, he had phony papers.
Like many who have phony papers, he didn't have to worry. Counterfeit documents play an essential role in the tragicomedy that is our immigration policy.
The way the system works now - or doesn't work - is that the Social Security Administration checks numbers from employers and advises, on an annual basis, when the numbers don't match. With the letter comes a warning that you can't fire someone simply because he's got a bad number.
Even with multiple warnings on an employee, covering any number of years, there is no guideline as to what action an employer should take.
There's a wink. There's a nod.
But everything has changed at Wynkoop Holdings. Donnie Young is dead. Garcia-Gomez is on the run, possibly to Mexico.
And, here in Denver, some want to make the case that illegal immigration killed Donnie Young - and not a coward with a gun. Still, Driscoll felt he had to act, even though he swears he and the mayor never discussed the issue.
Driscoll put two employees on the case, working a full week each, matching employees with bad numbers.
They found 107 people, 51 of whom still work at the restaurants, including 34 who have received multiple notices from Social Security.
The 51 employees have 30 days to prove they're legal or they're gone - to some restaurant not owned by Hickenlooper.
And so this won't come up again, Wynkoop will now use the new software to screen Social Security numbers at the time of hire. No match means no job. There's no law forcing Wynkoop to do any of this. There's a political reality that begins and ends with restaurants owned by mayors.
Driscoll is explaining the process and then says, "Dealing with these immigration issues is the first time in my life I'm ashamed to be an American."
He stops. You have the sense he's saying more than he's supposed to say.
Ask him why he's ashamed and he says, "Because I think the country is living a lie. There are 11 million of these individuals in the country, and they affect every one of our daily lives. Yet we don't have the legislation or the leaders that recognize this and come up with a fair immigration policy . . . "
"Restaurants are like families. These people work extremely hard. The vast majority work two (jobs), 80 hours a week. I feel badly for these people. They look to people like me for protection."
Ask Hickenlooper about the policy and he says people want it both ways - for him to effect change at his restaurants and, at the same time, for the restaurants to remain in a blind trust.
He insists he never knowingly hired anyone who was here illegally when he was Hickenlooper the restaurateur, and, since this was a phone call, I don't know if he winked.
But what is clearly true is that Denver is not a sanctuary city - not if that means it's somehow different from other cities. If you listen to talk radio, or Tom Tancredo, you'd think Denver was the Big Rock Candy Mountain for illegal immigrants, who race here for all the goodies city officials are handing out. But the only service I can see that isn't federally mandated is that, as in most cities, cops don't turn you over to immigration if you have an accent and you run a stop sign.
Hickenlooper says anyone with "a heart and a brain" opposes illegal immigration. "The system we have now," he says, "is so broken it's ridiculous. It reminds me of Prohibition - large numbers of people randomly breaking the law. That's not good for society."
Of course, cities don't make immigration law, not that you'd know that from much of the discussion. Hickenlooper does recommend the McCain-Kennedy bill before Congress, but that's for another column.
But if this is a policy issue from Hickenlooper's office at City Hall, it's something different from Lee Driscoll's office back at the restaurant.
Once Driscoll was an assistant DA in New York. He worked with cops there, working the hard cases, and says his heart goes out to Donnie Young's family.
But there's also this: "I learned," he says, "that overwhelmingly immigrants were victims of crimes - not the perpetrators. That's what really drives my personal view of this matter.
"And now I've had years of experience with restaurants to see how hard these people work and how they're treated by society."
The crackdown is, of course, the official Wynkoop Holdings statement on illegal immigration. But official doesn't always mean a statement made without regret.
Well, that an he broke the law by hiring them.
Dondes esta tu I-9 carte?
No, that is NOT what the crime is. The crime is breaching the sovereign borders of the USA.
Working without legal documents is also a crime as is hiring someone who is illegal.
These leftists won't be happy until we get swamped and there are no borders.
Senator Voinovich is that you?
He should not be firing them. He should be in the grey bar hotel. The guy he's forced to sell out to pay the fines (above and beyond doing hard time) ought to be the one firing them. In an ideal world.
There, I felt his pain.
Nah, I think firing illegals would be fun. Actually, if I could make a living going from business to business firing people for their bosses....
LOL. I heard a caller on the Laura Ingraham show, he said he used to be a fireman in OH. He said that Voidovitch was mayor he came in and gave a speech to them and told them that he didnt have the money to give them a raise or something like that.....
THEN HE STARTED CRYING!!
The real reason is that he is getting heat from someone regarding employing illegals. IMHO of course.
What a pathetic story. The man is free to open restaurants south of the border and he can have all the cheap labor he wants. And it'll be legal too...
He was just murdering the police officers even Black Americans wouldn't murder.
Thank you Mr. Fox. Ole Vincente was a major point release in the versioning of liberal stupidity.
Stop! Stop! You're breaking my heart. < /sarcasm>
Well, ummm....,no. As an American, he can't do that.
Many North Americans choose Mexico for relocation or retirement, and some come with the idea that they will find employment when they arrive. For the most part, this is not feasible. As in many third world countries, there is a problem with unemployment in Mexico, and the government does not look kindly upon foreigners entering Mexico with the idea of working and taking jobs away from Mexican nationals.
The hypocrisy coming from Vinnie Fox and Mexico is mind-boggling but not suprising. Open borders with that country means one thing... the traffic flows north.