Monday, September 12, 2011

Grand America Caught in DHS Audit

The Grand America Hotel is an excellent example of the need for Everify and the protection it can afford both businesses AND employees

Utah Law requires all businesses, with over 15 Employees, to use Everify and both federal and state law prohibit the hiring of “unauthorized aliens.” Regrettably, no penalties were attached for noncompliance in Utah, but its use might have provided some escape from punishment if it had been used.  

According to the SL Tribune article, the five-star Salt Lake hotel in a DHS audit showed that the hotel could NOT “provide legal documentation to work in the United States.“ 

The Deseret News report stated “DHS determined that some hotel employees did not have valid documentation to work in the United States even though they had presented facially valid documents when they were hired.” 

No further explanation was given, but it is well known the the State of Utah issued Driver's License to illegal aliens for several years before changing “Driver Privilege Cards."   Both documents might be considered "facially valid documents" as they are official Utah Photo "identification" cards, which are not supposed to be used for identification. 

Apparently, the Hotel may have been using the I-9 form which requires NO verification by the employer when hiring.  The Tribune article reports that "The documentation of all new hires is checked against federal databases under the E-Verify system."  The Grand America Hotel was not found on UFIRE's  DHS provided Utah E-Verify users databases
through June 2011.  The use of E-Verify in Utah was mandated beginning July 2010

A later database showed they finally signed up for E-Verify in July around the time of a controversial protest over "the Grand America Hotel’s attack on immigrants."

According to this article "The Grand America Hotel bosses set a July 6 deadline for all of the employees. The bosses require that all workers reapply and either show the necessary documentation or face immediate termination. However, the bosses extended this deadline one month, to Aug. 6 in order to ensure staffing at the Governors’ Conference."

Utah Valley University Revolutionary Students Union said, “Defending workers, especially those who are immigrants is a top priority. Grand America is attacking the right to receive a living wage and enforcing racist systems of verification. An attack on one worker is an attack on all of us.”

After the DHS audit, a total of over 100 undocumented employees lost their jobs because of lack of  proof of legal status.  Nothing has been reporting concerning replacements, but as of the end of July there were 41,290 unemployed people in Salt Lake County. 

Although the Hotel association reported a $12 wage for the hotel jobs, Workforces Services has several listed a $8.25/hr.
Grand America Hotel is a GOLD member of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce which was the primary proponent of the Utah Guest Worker Permit (HB 116) which attempts to “legalize the illegal” or in their words