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American Apparel, a Los Angeles-based clothing manufacturer and retailer known for its racy advertising and social consciousness, has announced that it will fire about 1,500 of its workers who do not have the legal right to work in the United States.

The announcement comes after a July inspection by the government which found that about 1,600 of American Apparel's 10,000-strong workforce appeared to be working in the country illegally.  

Founder and Chief Executive Dov Charney said in a letter to the affected employees that he was deeply saddened at having to terminate them: "Many of you have been with me for so many years, and I just cry when I think that so many people will be leaving the company.... It is my belief that immigrants bring prosperity to any economy."

The action, however, does not appear to have been forced upon the company.  ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said, "There's no direct order from ICE to terminate an employee.... But if a company continues to employ individuals who are not authorized to work, they understand there may be potential legal consequences."

Click here to read more about America Apparel's decision to maintain a legal workforce.

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