Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was preparing for a review of The BoatHouse Canton employees. Advance notice prompted over 30 employees to avoid the process by not showing up to work the entire weekend.
On Thursday, the restaurant in southeast Baltimore received a request from ICE to review its I-9 forms, said co-owner of the BoatHouse, Gene Singleton. Some workers began expressing their fear of returning to work after hearing about the upcoming review. The workers ranged from line cooks to dishwashers and food runners.“We encouraged people to stay put but we understood if they felt uncomfortable,” Singleton said. “They were fearful of just not knowing what was going to happen and being separated from their families. They said they were going to have to go home and take care of their families.”
According to an ICE spokesman, the agency does not “confirm the existence of any ongoing investigation.”
The Boathouse staff reviewed the company’s policies to determine if there were any lapses in paperwork.
“We have proper paperwork,” he said. “We don’t know whether they were all legal or partially legal or not legal.”
Singleton describes the workers who did not show up to work as “all really good people.”
“We call them the heart of the house,” he said. “They don’t get enough recognition.”
The rest of the staff of over 90 people worked together to make it through a demanding weekend, including an event with approximately 400 people, which took place on Sunday. Singleton took to Instagram to apologize to the patrons who felt they had a “less than great experience”, offering them a 50 percent discount if they could provide their receipts from Friday.
The Boathouse Canton
2809 Boston Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21224