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.

Follow @CBSBaltimore on Twitter and like WJZ-TV | CBS Baltimore on Facebook

Comments (162)
  1. I see ICE is doing its job…. Good for THEM….

  2. Seems like ICE needs to investigate this restaurant on if they have legal I-9 forms for all of the “missing employees” and shut them down if they don’t.

  3. dlethe says:

    I sure hope the employer has been audited by IRS. They are going to owe a big fine.

  4. I call BS by the owner. If they weren’t illegal, they had nothing to fear and wouldn’t have ledt. This prick hired mostly illegals and you can bet he paid them wages lower than required by law.

  5. Paull Cudak says:

    FINALLY, government workers actually doing their jobs!

  6. In the mid ’80’s in San Francisco this was a common practice. I remember one afternoon at Prego on Union St the Immigration guys showed up. Our bussers and kitchen guys ljumped from the ground floor windows to the side street and ran in their uniforms. No one was busted because the Immigration guys could not run.

  7. Apparently the restaurant owner did not realize that he had hired illegals. Now he has an opportunity to rectify the matter. Sounds like a win win to me.

  8. Troy Dynes says:

    Now the restaurant will have to pay fair wages.

  9. Scott Brown says:


  10. This place should be shut down for hiring illegals…Any business that knowingly (and they ALL know) hiring people who are in the country illegally should lose their license to do business…But of course that will never happen in The People’s Republic of Maryland where the Attorney General is a communist that would rather see American citizens in danger…Frosh needs to be held responsible for any violence caused by these illegals..

  11. Bud Clement says:

    it’s great waking up in the morning and hearing good news! the question that comes to mind for me is “did the authorities arrest the owners” certainly should have.

  12. “They pay taxes and everything is on the up and up” Totally hitting the BS button on this! Personally operated several businesses and never seen a legal worker run for the hills. However, I have seen many illegal aliens who had committed identity theft run when these requests come in!

  13. SharkFL says:

    Now Imagine if we can get the construction companies to rid themselves of illegals. Then, maybe American journeymen and young apprentices will get their careers and industry back. It’s easy if you try.

  14. These are great comments coming from legal, hard working and honest people. I love all of the anti-illegal immigration commenters. It’s just plain common sense to obey the law. Punish the lawbreakers, but reward the legal hard working immigrants.

  15. Buy and hire AMERICANS!

  16. GOOD JOB I.C.E.!!! keep picking up those CRIMINALS!

Leave a Reply