Salt Lake Community College, 4600 S. Redwood Road, and the Airport Inn, 2333 W. North Temple, may face federal civil fines for allegedly hiring aliens not permitted to work in the United States.
The fines would be a first for Utah, levied under the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which went into effect June 1. Employers are subject to civil fines if they knowingly hire aliens not allowed to work in the country - or if they don't check diligently enough into the alien's status.Fines sought are $12,500 against the college and $5,950 against the inn.
These are notices of intent to fine, not actual fines. The college and inn may contest them, according to an immigration official.
The college, a state institution, hired a Swede as a mathematics teacher when she had only a visitor's visa, not a work permit, said Meryl Rogers, officer in charge of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service office in Salt Lake City.
The inn was cited by the Immigration Service for hiring a Tongan for housework, an employee who was not cleared to work in the country, he said.
Both also were cited for paperwork violations, Rogers said.
When the inn was contacted, a woman there told the Deseret News, "We don't want to give no comment."
Max Lowe, vice president of Salt Lake Community College, said, "I think it's more of a communications problem than anything else."
Both Lowe and Jay Williams, a public relations spokesman for the college, said most of the violations cited were for paperwork problems.
"One of the supervisors prints his name as a signature," Williams said. "He doesn't do a cursive swash or whatever. So that cost us. A signature, for example, costs you $500."
More than 700 people were hired part-time last year, as the math teacher was, he said. "I think that they assumed she was all right," he said.
The woman is trying to get a work permit. If she can get one, she will teach again at the school, he said.
"We want to comply with the law," Lowe said. "We've got to tighten up our procedures and make sure we're in compliance."
Rogers said the office's policy is not to issue a fine based solely on paperwork. But if it finds an illegal alien employed, it will add that violation to any for paperwork.
Each person hired since Nov. 6, 1986, is required to fill out a form called an I-9, with information about authorization to work in the United States, he said.
If an alien provides phony identification and fools an employer, normally the INS will fine the alien, not the employer. However, if the identification was easily detectable - for example, if a man used a woman's driver's license - then the INS will go after the employer.