Federal government cracks down on hiring illegal immigrants in Kansas

December 4, 2012, 12:01 p.m. Updated December 4, 2012, 4:10 p.m.


— A company that employed illegal immigrants at its McDonald’s restaurants in Wichita has been ordered to pay $400,000 as part of a federal crackdown in Kansas on companies that knowingly hire workers who are unlawfully in the United States.

The U.S. attorney’s office announced Tuesday that McCalla Corp. had pleaded guilty to one count of knowingly accepting a fraudulent identification document as proof of employment eligibility. Under the settlement, the Wichita-based company paid a $300,000 fine and a $100,000 forfeiture.

U.S. Attorney Barry Grissom told The Associated Press that the Justice Department has to deal with the realities of budgetary constraints and that it makes sense from a “cost-effective standpoint” to go after the employers.

“If nobody is employing undocumented workers, then we don’t have an illegal immigration issue to deal with,” he said in a phone interview.

McCalla operates six McDonald’s restaurants in Wichita. Investigators found that managers at five of those six restaurants were unlawfully in the country, and that they in turn hired other undocumented workers, Grissom said.

The government estimated that between 20 and 30 illegal immigrants worked at the restaurants between May 2009 and September 2012.

The $100,000 forfeiture represented the “unjust enrichment” the corporation had garnered as a result of hiring illegal immigrants at a reduced rate and not having to payroll taxes such as Social Security, Medicare and other withholding taxes, Grissom said.

McCalla’s attorney, Lee Thompson, said the company has already paid the fines, and “is a good corporate citizen and accepts responsibilities for the acts of its employees.” He noted that the criminal charge was “very limited” to one incident.

When the firm was first charged in October, McCalla President Roy McCalla said the incident did not reflect his company’s policies.

But the U.S. attorney’s office said in a statement Tuesday that any attempt to minimize or excuse this kind of conduct is unacceptable. We know these practices are widespread, and investigations similar to the McCalla case are under way.”

Grissom declined to say how many such investigations were under way, but said they were in both urban and rural settings.

McCalla is the second Kansas company this year to be prosecuted for knowingly employing illegal immigrants.

In September, the U.S. attorney’s office charged the owners of two Clarion hotels — one in Kansas City and the other in Overland Park — after finding half of their employees were illegal immigrants.

The owners, a suburban Kansas City couple, face charges including conspiracy to harbor undocumented aliens for personal gain. If convicted, they could lose their two hotels, bank accounts and spend decades in prison.

Grissom said going after business owners is more effective than showing up at a job site and arresting illegal immigrant workers, which he said usually results in other undocumented workers replacing them in a few days.

“So the most cost-effective message we can send out is, if you as an employer are knowingly hiring undocumented persons, then we are going to pursue you,” Grissom said. “This is going to send a very loud and clear message.”


Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 4 months ago

Good for them. Now cut some people off of welfare and send them to work at McDonalds.

progressive_thinker 5 years, 4 months ago

Really? The fellow that was the undocumented worker was the manager of one of the four McCalla restaurants. Do you know lots of folks on welfare that are qualified to be a restaurant manager?

BTW, it was one count.

Betty Bartholomew 5 years, 4 months ago

Can't didn't say to put them into a manager's spot. Supposing the McD's in question promotes from within (and most fast food places do), that opens up a spot on a lower rung for somebody else to move into. And being a manager at McD's or another fast food place does not not necessarily have the same requirements as managing a "regular" restaurant. You can work your way into management in fast food rather quickly - in as little as a year - whereas "regular" restaurants will often want a hospitality degree or a chef's degree or many, many years of experience.

John Hamm 5 years, 4 months ago

Perhaps you should reread the article - I quote "managers at five of those six restaurants" and they in turn hired other Illegals.........

danmark 5 years, 4 months ago

That's another big problem, they will quit after a week because they don't like to work. It's a fact

Shelley Bock 5 years, 4 months ago

KU would only employ foreigners who have the proper credentials to work in the US. Their hiring procedures are much more stringent than any private company.

danmark 5 years, 4 months ago

If people weren't so lacy, companies wouldn't have to hire illegal immigrants, they can work 12 to 15 hrs a day with out complaining. I know a lot of people who doesn't like to work more than 5 hrs a day

Alyosha 5 years, 4 months ago

"Foreigners," as you so know-nothingly put it, aren't the issue. Company's hiring workers without the necessary and proper work visa status are the issue.

Every American came from "foreign" ancestry at one time, even those of us whose families who've been here since before the Revolution.

Why on earth would you care how many "foreigners" KU employs? (And why do you put it in quotes?)

Here's some reading for you so you can put your "thoughts" in historical perspective:

tolawdjk 5 years, 4 months ago

This brings up an important point.

Kids, don't do drugs. Stay in school. Let lawrenceguy40 provide at least one service to society and that is to serve as a great example of a bad example.

funkdog1 5 years, 4 months ago

So if you were born in a crappy poor country and your kids were growing up in a crappy poor country and the fat rich country next door wouldn't let you become a citizen, you're saying you'd just sit there in the crappy poor country and not do everything you could to try to better your situtation?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Using that logic, a poor person in the U.S. would be justified in stealing from a wealthier person in the U.S. We could even extend that to every poor person in every country. And since your term "crappy poor country" could mean different things to different people, everyone in the world would be justified in stealing from any other person who had more. That doesn't describe the planet I would want to live on.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

The comment to which I replied did not limit what a person might do to better themselves to immigration alone. They specifically said "everything you could to try to better your situation". No, stealing is not the same as illegally entering a country. Just as felonies are not the same as misdemeanors. Neither should be condoned, though. The moron comment I'll just attribute to you having a bad day at the office. Hope your evening treats you better.

John Hamm 5 years, 4 months ago

No. Americans sat in their country and made it better - they didn't flock to an adjoining country to reap the benefits of that country's hard work. If, and I'm assuming here, you're are referring to Mexico why don't Mexicans work to improve it?

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

If true, then they should be working to fix their government.

ferrislives 5 years, 4 months ago

1) Apparently the difference between "foreigners" and "illegal immigrants" completely went over your head. Without "foreigners", there would be no Google.

2) lawrenceguy40 wrote "Nobody can chose where they are born. However, people can chose where they live and work." I agree, you cannot "chose" where you were born. But you can "chose" what you become. Remember lawrenceguy40, "You can't be a pimp and a prostitute too." --Jack White

jayhawklawrence 5 years, 4 months ago

"I use employ in quotation marks when referring to ku, since the usual definition of the word implies that the employee provides a useful service in return for a wage. I have never found anything useful to have come from ku and therefore "employment" at ku fulfills only half the definition."

Maybe you should voluntarily deport yourself from this website since you have such a low opinion of our town.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Anyone who does not make the distinction between legal immigrants and illegal immigrants is doing a disservice to having an honest discussion.

Briseis 5 years, 4 months ago

lol...Critter you make me laugh.


btw...people are not banned. Names are...try not to be a bigot.

Besides, this archaic format for community gatherings at this web site, is on it's way out. You will not have to be tormented for much longer.

Richard Payton 5 years, 4 months ago

Did they work for under the federal minimum wage?

Glenn Reed 5 years, 4 months ago

I want to know this, too.

Were the employees pressured to work longer hours, off the clock?

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

Why should that be illegal? Bilingualism is a skill and an important one to have. It makes many more jobs available to you and for employers, it widens their customer base to have employees who speak a second language.

And if it sucks so much to be an American citizen these, well, there is nothing stopping you from leaving and renouncing your citizenship.

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

It is not discrimination. Language is not a protected class.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

Sure, it's protected, but requiring your employees to speak a certain language while you are paying them is perfectly constitutional because they are representing you as employees. In the end the First Amendment problem solves itself with money. They speak as much English as the owner can afford.

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

No, language is not a protected class. You cannot sue for discrimination because an employer wants bilingual employees.

It really is no different than requiring an employee to be able type 50 WPM. If you can't, you don't get the job. If the job requires interaction with non-English speakers and you can't speak anything but English, you aren't going to get the job.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

Force me to hire a man to say "I'm a silly fool". When you realize you don't have the physical ability, what law will you use to compel me?

Better yet, Force me to not hire a man to say "I'm a silly fool".

"It really is no different than requiring an employee to be able type 50 WPM"

You get what English you pay for and you get the typing you pay for. That's how it works.

" If the job requires interaction with non-English speakers and you can't speak anything but English, you aren't going to get the job."

You don't think the spanish language can describe the proper way to make a Whopper? You hire the people that serve the customer best and make you more money. But no. The dishwasher can speak nothing but french as long as he knows...

(french)look, basket. Push basket in, pull basket out, put basket on rack(/french).

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

That's nice but it still doesn't make language a protected class. You cannot sue an employer for discrimination if they fail to hire you for not speaking Klingon, Pig Latin or any other language that the employer wants you to communicate in as part their employment.

Additionally, if the only manufacturer of the products I want to sell only speak Tagalog, then I'm going to hire someone who speaks Tagalog to do the ordering of the products for me.

danmark 5 years, 4 months ago

Yeeeees, AMNESTY will solve a lot of problems, believe it or not

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

We already had a "one time only" amnesty. Shall we have another. And then another. Shall we have a "one time only" amnesty every generation? Sure, amnesty will solve problems in the short term. But it creates even more problems in the long term.

danmark 5 years, 4 months ago

Have you ever hear in the drive thru the person speaking you in spanish? No right! Your comment doesn't make sence

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

It is apparent that you have failed to master English as well.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

I worked at McDonald's on 23rd. St. while attending K.U. That despite the fact that I took a few years off between high school and college. Personally, I don't see any problem with students working their way through school, whether high school or college, and doing so in fast food joints.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 4 months ago

Illegal immigrants do work at jobs Americans don't want to work at. But they also work at jobs Americans do want. Of course, not all illegal immigrants work. Some are in school. Some are in prison. Some are staying home with young children. Some would like to work, but can't find jobs at this time.

Illegal immigrants aren't bad people. Just the opposite, for the most part, they are good decent human beings. But we Americans have the right to decide who can come into our country and who cannot. We have established rules and guidelines to facilitate that. Follow our rules and we will welcome you with open arms.

kernal 5 years, 4 months ago

I imagine people smuggled into this country as sex slaves and indentured servants would love to go back home just so long as they have a home to go to and won't be ostracized, tortured or imprisoned for what happened to them. Especially the children.

Don't think the illegals are just those from South of the border. They include Europeans and Asians as well.

Katara 5 years, 4 months ago

I don't blame Australians for wanting to leave their country. I wouldn't want to live in a place where everything is poisonous and wants to kill you.

KEITHMILES05 5 years, 4 months ago

This is where the corporate greed will be nailed. Kudos to the DOJ.

workinghard 5 years, 4 months ago

What I'm not seeing discussed here is that in many cases illegal immigrants are using a stolen social security number. I cannot forget the seeing the 80+ yr old lady in the office were I was waiting to get my income taxes done. She had tried to submit her taxes and get her refund but it was rejected because somebody had turned in taxes for that year under her name. She needed that money and not in 6 months or a year that it would have taken to straighten it out.

Briseis 5 years, 4 months ago

She needs to quit giving the government a yearly loan. The 53% of people that do pay federal taxes should not get money back from government thugs. They should only pay government thugs.

Briseis 5 years, 4 months ago

Why are trespassers allowed to run free? They are greedy taking only for themselves. They should be stopped.

Liberty275 5 years, 4 months ago

The left is gung ho about prosecuting companies that hire undocumented aliens, and that is their take on the best way to fix the problem. OTOH, if we start fining companies, they aren't going to hire the undocumented workers, our prices will rise and people will lose the jobs that feeds their families.

I think the right with it's jingoistic bigotry is bad, but the left is no better. They will starve the undocumented workers and put small business out of work.

IMO, the border should be open, undocumented workers should be allowed to work here and if they commit a felony, they serve their prison term and are deported. If they show up again, more prison, more deportation.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.