An anti-immigration group Wednesday demanded an investigation into McDonald’s hiring practices, claiming to have collected evidence that the company disproportionately hires Hispanics in Connecticut.
But state officials declined, questioning the group’s findings. And the state’s official liaison with the Hispanic community said he found it “offensive” that anyone would go to such lengths to monitor McDonald’s hiring practices.
“This sounds to me more like systematic persecution,” said Fernando Betancourt, the state’s commissioner for Latino and Puerto Rican affairs.
The group, Connecticut Citizens for Immigration Control, visited 152 McDonald’s restaurants statewide—nearly every one in the state—and observed 1,183 employees. CCIC, which is Internet-based but holds periodic meetings, used on-site observation of workers from April through September 2005 to formulate its conclusion.
It found Hispanics accounted for 87 percent of employees in Fairfield County and 64 percent of employees in New Haven County. In all, according to the group, 50 percent of McDonald’s employees statewide are Hispanic.
The group’s co-founder, Paul Streitz of Danbury, said he believes the findings are evidence that Hispanic immigrants—legal and illegal—are displacing other McDonald’s workers.
“This is to me occupational displacement—all of a sudden, in places like Bridgeport and New Haven and Stamford, there aren’t any African-Americans working there like there used to be? What’s happened?” he said.
Hispanics are the state’s largest minority group, accounting for more than 10 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Puerto Ricans are the largest subgroup; Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory whose residents enjoy full citizenship.