INS to Fine North County Restaurant

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service has notified a North County restaurant that it will be fined $1,500 for "knowingly" hiring workers who were in the United States illegally, officials said Tuesday.

Thus, the restaurant, the Old Town Mexican Cafe in Encinitas, has become the fourth employer in San Diego County to be notified of a prospective fine under the terms of the year-old immigration law. The statute prohibits the hiring of illegal aliens.

Nationwide, about two dozen employers have received such notices, according to the INS.

The Old Town Mexican Cafe was notified of the alleged violation Friday, said James Turnage, district director for the INS.

Bob Ginn, general manager of the restaurant, said the facility was in compliance with the law and planned to fight the fine. Restaurant management has 30 days to contest the fine and request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

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