Federal immigration agents launched an audit of the 22 store Mi Pueblo supermarket chain in mid-August after hearing complaints about suspected illegal immigrants working at the stores, the company announced Friday.
The audit of I-9 forms, known as a silent raid, was the reason the San Jose based company voluntarily joined the federal E-Verify system to check the immigration status of all new hires, according to the Mercury News.
The announcement comes days before a threatened shopper boycott is to begin at noon Monday, led by a union trying to organize Mi Pueblo's more than 3,000 workers.
Labor organizers trying to unionize Latino and Asian ethnic markets across the state picked up the E-Verify revelation to attack chain owner Juvenal Chavez because he himself is said to have come to the United States illegally from Mexico as a young man in the 1980s, though he is now a U.S. citizen, according to the newspaper.
Founded in 1991 by Chavez, a former Stanford University janitor, the company now has stores from Vallejo to Salinas and in the Central Valley.