A federal audit forced an Escondido disposal company to fire 50 of its employees for not having proper documentation to work.
The U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency audited Escondido Disposal Inc. recently and found that a quarter of the company did not have valid Social Security numbers or papers allowing them to work in the U.S. as non-citizens, our media partner the North County Times reported.
EDCO Vice President Ritchie said he had no knowledge of his employees’ lack of documentation. Though EDCO did check for the documents, many of the employees were found with counterfeit documents.
The audits are part of an effort to target employers of undocumented workers, instead of the employees themselves, an ICE spokesperson said.
Escondido Mayor Sam Abed praised the audit, and told the North County times that firing the undocumented employees would free up space for citizen workers in need of a job.
“About 55 jobs that were occupied by [undocumented] workers are now available for legal workers," Abed said. "Every business must follow the law, and we need to have zero tolerance."
However, critics say tougher crackdowns are a Band-Aid solution to the immigration issue. In addition to displacing workers who may be on the path to citizenship, the audits are also bad for business, said Pedro Rios, San Diego director for the American Friends Service Committee immigrant rights group.
"[Undocumented workers] get replaced by less-skilled workers, and the companies get exposed to lawsuits," Rios told the North County Times.
Escondido created a partnership with ICE last year in which ICE agents assist patrol and police officers in identifying illegal immigrants.
ICE will be auditing about 1,000 companies across the nation.