This past year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) audited fast-growing, fast-food chain Chipotle Mexican Grill (ICE still does paper audits, it seems). On inspection, ICE found that Chipotle had knowingly hired over 500 illegal immigrants. Now Chipotle’s co-leader, Monty Moran, is upset about having to train and hire American workers: he is complaining to senators that “Immigration is really messed up.”
Since Moran has been deprived of a labor pool willing to work for laughably low wages, he’s struggling to find American workers to take over burrito-rolling duties without increasing salary and benefits to attract a domestic supply. Because immigrants are “critical to [Chipotle’s] success” according to The Wall Street Journal, Moran wants an influx of legal workers (guest-workers, perhaps?), preferably still willing to work for peanuts. Some might call this a “cheap labor business plan.” Trouble is, this “cheap labor” is bankrupting the nation.
Employers like Moran are indicative of a system we’ve allowed Wall Street to build in America, a system that relies on low-paid immigrant labor to keep our lawns trim, our strawberries picked, and our burritos rolled, all for the lowest wage possible. We’re all going broke in the process.
The government can build border fences to the moon, but as long as companies develop business plans that assume lower-cost imported labor, our cheap, delicious burritos – along with the beleaguered American taxpayer — will continue to be rolled by a cheap, inexhaustible supply of illegal labor. Call it “the burrito effect.”