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.

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Comments (162)
  1. This owner is either a moron or the biggest liar ever.

  2. fine him, according to the law(8 usc 1373) 5,000 dollars per illegal, confiscate his greasy spoon eatery, and send this clown to jail for harboring illegals and employing them(also against the law). this mook, if the law is followed, is looking at 10 years…JAIL HIM NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Good job ICE. Democrats hate the law hence they cry when it is enforced(see patron Michelle Zhang above).

  4. The first generation American has it right (I dont call them Mexican American, if you were born here you are an American, if his parents immigrated here and became naturalized, THEY are Mexican Americans), treating illegal immigration as a “non-problem” is a slap in the face of all immigrants that do so legally.

    Anyone who supports illegal immigration is pro-injury to our country and supports the type of “immigrant” who is less likely to assimilate. The illegals are often the ones who still fly the flag of their home country and refuse to learn and speak English. Legal immigrants are the one who actually want to be Americans, not just here to get get money to send back home and continue to live the culture of their home country rather than become an American.

    This restaurant owner may have been obeying all immigration laws, but when someone works for you, it can become evident sometimes that they are illegal. They may have provided you with a bogus SSN and gotten a drivers license with it, but just listening to their conversations can tell a lot. What? You hired non-English speaking people and you dont speak their language? you deserve to lose your staff.

  5. John Madrid says:

    If you are here illegally, you should be very afraid, you are a criminal. If you are here legally then you have nothing to worry about, YOU are an immigrant.

  6. “30 immigrant workers”? Why would immigrants fear ICE? Oh I see, you left out the word ILLEGAL!!! LOL….And did they take their stolen social security numbers with them?

  7. Why should I feel bad that criminals are worried about getting caught?

  8. OUTSTANDING………..get them all out of OUR Country. No good ILLEGALS. They already broke our laws just being here. The owner of the restaurant should be locked up too for breaking this COUNTRY’S LAWS. i hope he goes out of business……………….

  9. Maybe Baltimore’s Environmental Health Services can explain why 30 illegals that have never gone through the proper immigration process, vaccinated and tested for disease are handling food at The Boathouse Canton?


  10. Colleen Ann says:

    It is utterly amazing how many of you did not read or comprehend the article.

    The owner was in compliance with federal law. That means that the 30 immigrants were here LEGALLY.

    They have become scared, because they have seen others that have permission to be here, deported.

    1. You must know something we don’t know then, are you sure they are actually in compliance? People have been known to lie, cheat, steal, and etc if you didn’t know.

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