Dozens of day care workers quit after immigration investigation - FOX 35 News Orlando

Dozens of day care workers quit after immigration investigation

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  • Dozens of day care workers quit after immigration investigationMore>>

  • Letter sent to parents on July 12

    Letter sent to parents on July 12

    Wednesday, July 17 2013 12:20 AM EDT2013-07-17 04:20:58 GMT
    Click here to read the full text of the letter sent home to parents of children cared for at Jardin Magico on July 12.
    Click here to read the full text of the letter sent home to parents of children cared for at Jardin Magico on July 12.
  • Letter sent to parents on July 14

    Letter sent to parents on July 14

    Wednesday, July 17 2013 12:23 AM EDT2013-07-17 04:23:10 GMT
    Click here to read the full text of the letter sent home to parents of children cared for at Jardin Magico on July 14.
    Click here to read the full text of the letter sent home to parents of children cared for at Jardin Magico on July 14.
MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

A local day care chain found itself with a staffing shortage following a federal immigration investigation, but parents say they stand behind the workers who cared for their children.

"I was really quite surprised," Teri Miller told FOX 9 News.

Miller chose Jardin Magico, or "Magic Garden," in south Minneapolis because it was the cleanest and most organized day care she could find for her son, Sullivan. Yet, the Spanish immersion center is now the focus of an investigation for possibly employing undocumented workers.

Dozens of staff members left the job this week after they failed to provide documentation proving they were U.S. citizens. The day care sent parents two letters to tell them what happened, and the centers also held meetings at all three locations on Monday night to answer questions and hear concerns.

A spokesman for the owners said all three businesses will remain open, just without many of the employees the children have come to know. Parents described the feeling as "somber."

The Department of Homeland Security audited the day care a couple of months ago, and when investigators noticed inconsistencies on some records, roughly 20 of the 27 employees at each of the three locations opted to quit rather than fight the findings or provide new documentation.

"Any time you have a large number of workers who aren't coming back to employment or presenting documents to be able to show they are eligible to work, you can assume they were not documented to work in the U.S.," said immigration attorney Steven Thal.

According to Thal, I-9 audits are named after the forms used to verify an employee's identity and employment eligibility. Usually, such investigations focus on airports and power plants, but they also make sure potential day care employees are who they say they are as part of required criminal background checks.

News of the audit didn't seem to turn off the parents who spoke with FOX 9 News, however.

"They've been nothing but awesome to my daughter and family, so I'm not concerned about immigration stuff," Abby Beasley said.

The company issued the following statement in regards to the investigation:

"We're fully committed to our wonderful children and their families, to our amazingly talented staff and to working with the government as it reviews our staff's employment records. We understand the importance of the job they're doing and we believe the more they know about our school, the better they'll be able to understand how we work to uphold our commitments."

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