LLR director suspends business license for repeated violations of illegal immigration law

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gov. Nikki Haley today announced that the state of South Carolina has suspended the first business license under the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act after repeated and intentional violations.

Monterrey Mexican Restaurant of Killian, L.L.C., in Columbia, was notified today by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) that it must suspend its operations for 10 consecutive days. Violation of the order will result in its business license being revoked for five years.

“At a time when President Obama has allowed ICE to abandon worksite enforcement and there are millions of illegal immigrants in the workforce, South Carolina is identifying the problem and addressing it,” Gov. Haley said.

Under the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act, all businesses in South Carolina have a business license to employ workers. That license can be suspended or revoked by the state if a business owner fails to verify the legal work status of employees within five business days after they are hired.

“In this economy, we need to ensure that every available job is held by an employee who is legally in this country and authorized to work,” LLR Director Catherine Templeton said. “Employers who choose to ignore the requirements of the state immigration law in their hiring practices will be penalized.”

Gov. Haley said, “What you’re seeing is an agency director and an administration that understand what it means to enforce the laws on the books.”

Following an investigation by LLR on October 25, 2010, the restaurant was notified that four of its five employees were not authorized to work in the United States, and that state law required the termination of any illegal immigrants.

The department conducted a follow-up inspection on November 5, 2010 and found Monterrey had hired five new employees without verifying their employment eligibility.

In an agreement with LLR signed by restaurant ownership on January 6, 2011, the business’ imputed license was suspended for 10 days but immediately stayed provided Monterrey terminate all unauthorized workers, pay a fine of $1,000, and conduct a self-audit to verify employment eligibility for all employees.

LLR conducted an unannounced audit of the restaurant on March 24, 2011 and found that the business had hired four new employees without properly verifying their work eligibility.

Since the law went into effect on July 1, 2009, LLR has audited 5,800 businesses and issued citations to 500 employers for violations related to employment verification. Information on employers cited can be found online.

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Rob Godfrey
Press Secretary | Office of Governor Nikki Haley
O: 803.734.5074 | C: 803.429.5086