Chipotle’s CEO Whines For “Immigration Reform” After Flouting Our Immigration Laws
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Ah, there is nothing like getting caught with your hand in the cookie jar!

Even the pro-business Wall Street Journal tells it like it is in its December 19, 2011, “A CEO’s Demand: Fix Immigration. After Chipotle Is Stung By Crackdown, Its Chief Urges Overhaul”.  (By the appalling Miriam Jordan. If the story behind a paywall, try Crackdown turns Chipotle boss into immigration-reform advocate, the Denver Post’s reprint.)

Jordan begins:

 “A government crackdown that found Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. had hired hundreds of illegal workers has turned Monty Moran, the burrito chain's fiery co-leader, into an unlikely champion of immigration overhaul.

Over the past year, Chipotle became the highest-profile target of an Obama administration campaign against employers of illegal workers.

In a so-called silent raid, Immigration and Customs Enforcement inspected the chain's hiring records and found more than 500 undocumented workers, who had to leave the Denver-based company. It had to let go more than half of its 900 employees in Minnesota and lost others to federal scrutiny of outlets in Washington, D.C., and Virginia.

The enforcement moves left some Chipotle restaurants struggling to operate as managers rushed to train replacements. Finding qualified workers has become a continuing challenge. That's partly because word has spread that Chipotle, which employs 30,000 people, now is part of a federal worker-screening program.

Chipotle says its employee annual turnover at its restaurants nationwide has risen to more than 125% since the investigation from below 100%. Triple-digit turnover rates are common in the fast-food industry, where companies may have to fill the same job multiple times a year. Chipotle also says managers in some markets are interviewing 30 to 40 candidates to fill one opening, compared with 10 previously. At a recent job fair in Washington State, Chipotle hired just eight of the 100 people it interviewed.” [ links added throughout]

Perhaps indeed Mr. Moran had a learning experience.  We might even say he underwent “a teachable moment”—like a six-year old similarly apprehended in the cookie jar.

Moran complained vigorously to Congressional leaders of both parties. The WSJ’s Jordan tells us that

“In recent months, he has met with Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, both Colorado Democrats, and Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, as well as Republican Reps. Darrell Issa of California and Lamar Smith of Texas. His message: fix immigration.”

‘These guys need to know what is going on,’ says Mr. Moran, in his first major interview since the investigation. ‘Immigration is really messed up.’

Wonder exactly the extent of those Congressional conversations involved?  Were campaign contributions discussed?

One really needs to know how exactly Mr. Moran wants to FIX IMMIGRATION.  If he starts pumping for Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) which most Americans know by its real name, amnesty, he will join other Open Border advocate businesses, the immigration lawyers, his illegal former employees and those ideologues like the RCC, La Raza and LULAC.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Moran realized that putting his profits ahead of his country is hardly in the spirit of the Christmas season—or any season? Jordan reports:

“While he isn't prescribing a specific remedy, he has told lawmakers he needs access to a strong, legal work force. A temporary guest-worker program, advocated by some lawmakers, might work in sectors like agriculture, but it doesn't address the needs of a business that requires qualified labor on a year-round basis, he says.”

Let’s make the key point here:  There are 14 million Americans officially out of work and many more who have stopped looking.  Chipotle could really be a great source of jobs for them, as Jordan inadvertently reveals:

 “Fast-growing Chipotle has much at stake in the immigration debate. By year end, it expects to have added roughly 145 new outlets, with as many as 165 coming next year. Sales at stores open at least a year rose 11% in the third quarter, fueling a 25% jump in profit. Chipolte shares have gained 50% this year.

The chain, which says it expects to hire 100,000 workers in the next three years, sees immigrants as vital to its success. About half its workers are Hispanics, including many in management roles. Chipotle also regards immigrants as important customers for its premium burritos and tacos.

Mr. Moran, who was chief executive of a Denver law firm before joining Chipotle in 2005, has pushed the chain to promote from within as part of a strategy to reward top-performing employees and encourage them to stay on. He crafted a blueprint for advancing talented crew members, the company's term for those who make and serve its food, into general managers and beyond, breaking with Chipotle's former practice of recruiting managers from outside. Pay for employees promoted to the highest levels of store management often tops $100,000. He estimates that about 97% of Chipotle's store managers started on its service line.”

Bet there are a lot of legal residents of Hispanic background among those seeking work—they would fit Chipotle’s alleged needs perfectly. 

Perhaps we are really talking wage rates here?

Ho, Ho, Ho, Mr. Moran.  One of my long time immigration reform colleagues put your action to date about as well as possible when, after reading the WSJ article, he emailed me as follows:

“Don, from what I have read the CEO of Chipotle was caught cheating and is now whining to anyone in Congress who will listen to him. Immigration reform to him means letting a continuous stream of cheap labor into the US and letting him privatize the benefits of it while the public continues to bear the cost. In my opinion, he is not on our side and never will be. If anything, we should make him an example of what greed will do to a person.”

Well, folks, we can only hope that the Obama Administration that outed this blatant offender will continue to be an immigration Grinch—not only in the Christmas season, but all year long.  

It’s something called enforcing existing immigration law.

Donald A. Collins [email him], a free lance writer living in Washington, DC. , is a long-time board member of the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR). However, his views are his own.

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