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South Carolina Mexican restaurant temporarily shut down

Today, The State reported that a Mexican restaurant in Northeast Richland, South Carolina, has been ordered to shut down for ten days because of "repeated violations" of the state's illegal immigration law. This is the first business license the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has suspended under the state's Illegal Immigration Reform Act since it went into effect in July 2009.

Authorities suspended t he business license of Monterrey Mexican Restaurant after an alleged nine month investigation. Apparently, the restaurant's owners were told last October that between four and five of their employees did not have the proper authorization to work in the country, and two weeks later, inspectors found that there were five additional unauthorized workers.

The owners were then fined $2,000 the following month after they did not verify the legal status of these workers, but a license suspension was put on hold after the owners said that they would change their hiring practices and pay another $1,000 fine for violations. However, another inspection in March allegedly discovered four more staff members who did not have proper verification.

Reportedly, last week the restaurant owners were told by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to either close for ten days straight or their business license would be revoked for five years. It does not appear that the business owners have released a statement to the media regarding the issue.

South Carolina's governor announced the Department's decision, and in doing so, scolded the Obama administration for stalling on illegal immigration enforcement recently. The governor said that the state of South Carolina will continue to deal with illegal immigrants in the work force.

The Illegal Immigration Reform Act forces employers in the state to verify the legal work status of all new people hired within five business days. Since 2009, 500 out of 5,800 businesses were cited for not complying.

As you can see, it is becoming increasingly difficult to live and work in South Carolina and many other states without the legal status to work. Immigrant visas allow foreign nationals to live and work in the United States and often apply for permanent residency. If you or someone who works for you needs help obtaining a visa, contact an immigration attorney in your state for help.

Source: The State, "Restaurant ordered to close for 10 days," Rachael Myers Lowe, 4/29/2011.

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