June 16, 2006
The Kawasaki Restaurant Investigation
So how does this new approach work differently than the previous enforcement method employed by the INS? Take the Kawasaki restaurant chain in Baltimore as an example…
ICE’s approach in practice:
In March of this year, ICE executed search, arrest and seizure warrants at three Kawasaki Restaurants - a small Japanese restaurant chain - and at four related residences where we encountered fifteen undocumented workers living in deplorable conditions. Benefiting from their illegal workforce, the owners of the restaurants had created a lavish lifestyle for themselves. Fortunately, the three business owners were criminally arrested for money laundering and harboring of illegal aliens.
The old approach:
How would this case have been handled differently prior to ICE’s new approach?
Historically, INS agents would have used administrative tools. They would have likely conducted an I-9 inspection at the Kawasaki Restaurants to determine whether the employer was in compliance with IRCA. Following the inspection, the issuance of a fine based on paperwork violations would have likely been the end result.
Under the old way of doing business:
With such a paltry end result, it is not surprising that the old employer sanction regime had become simply a “cost of doing business”.