BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The owner of one of Canton’s most popular waterfront restaurants, The Boathouse, says more than 30 immigrant workers left in fear after a Department of Homeland Security worker hand-delivered a letter demanding documentation of their immigration status.
That stunned the eatery’s customers.
“It seems like terrorizing people who are trying to work at the restaurant,” says customer Michelle Zhang. “It’s not only bad for for the business but it’s bad for the families.”
“If that many left… are they not following the policy?” asks Ryan Horan, another customer. “Are they not doing it the way they should be doing it?”
Owner Gene Singleton insists his business was in compliance with immigration law.
He posted a letter posted online Saturday, he wrote:
“Based on our Government’s current practices of targeting the Hispanic Community, properly documented and potentially less than properly documented are all fearful of being separated from their families, many with small children. Many went home to pack up and leave.”
Singleton declined to speak on camera, but one first generation Mexican-American customer, Roman, says he sees no problem with immigration officials checking the status of workers.
“We’ve just got to make sure that everybody is playing by the same rules,” he says.
WJZ has learned that The Boathouse was not the only business targeted.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement won’t confirm or deny any ongoing investigations in Baltimore, but the Trump administration has increasingly been cracking down.
Immigration officers are now forcing out undocumented immigrants without criminal records, fast-tracking almost 1 million nationwide for deportation.
“More phone calls from family members and friends of my clients saying I have to check in and my friend checked in and she just got arrested and she’s gone now,” says immigration attorney George Lobb.