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PollyG

Immigrants Are Preparing, Serving, and Clearing Your Meal - Then Doing the Dishes

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The current administration is taking actions that are having and will continue to have a severe impact on the restaurant scene in the US.  Salvadorans, Nicaraguans, and Hondurans legally in the US for decades have lost their protected status and will be sent packing soon.  Guest worker programs have been curtailed, leaving Maryland without enough crab pickers and  55% of California farmers short of workers.

But the members of the administration are happy to dine out at establishments staffed by the very people they are trying to eject. DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen amply demonstrated that yesterday in her particularly tone-deaf decision to eat at a Mexican restaurant.  

I believe the DC restaurant community could do a service by providing recognition to the contribution of immigrants in nearly every restaurant in the region.  What would happen if our politicians, political appointees and career civil servants received a small card with each meal stating something along the lines of "this meal was prepared by immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Mexico, and Guatemala.  Termination of the Temporary Protected Status program for workers from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua will cause a restaurant labor shortage in the coming years?"  In order to avoid ICE harassment, the card would likely need to include a statement that the restaurant uses E-Verify to confirm that all workers are entitled to work in the US.  At a minimum, such cards would make it hard for our Administration to ignore the fact that they benefit from the contributions of immigrants everywhere they go. 

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On 6/20/2018 at 6:36 PM, PollyG said:

career civil servants

I'm not sure career civil servants are the right audience for this. There are certainly some who appreciate this administration, but everyone I know abhors just about everything this administration does, especially with his recent executive orders on federal employee unions (and in my little corner of the world his various actions on immigration).

Still, I like the idea overall!

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My initial reaction to this is few restaurants would do this because it seems like an open invitation for ICE to come knocking on a restaurant's back door during Friday night prime time (even if the restaurant claimed e-verify).

However, I feel like perhaps promoting certain individuals on staff who are immigrants might work.  Put a face on the subject.  Humanize the story.

Dorjee Momo is very open about the immigrant/refugee story behind the restaurant.  And it's a good story.  Seven blocks from the US Capitol building a refugee chef proudly cooking the food of his birth country.  

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I don't think any of us have to go much further than this website to start making a difference in terms of recognizing and appreciating the immigrant labor that creates so many of the amazing meals we eat.  I don't think anyone would argue that the "known" chefs we talk about and celebrate here are much less likely to be immigrants.  But next time we have a fantastic meal at that Chinese hole in the wall in Rockville or that Ethiopian place in Arlington, why not ask who the chef is and mention them by name in our reviews here?  Not a huge thing but maybe collectively it can make some small difference.  And it's probably not just ethnic places either.  Who's the chef these days at Dino's Grotto? Or Rays the Steaks?

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18 hours ago, Rhone1998 said:

I don't think any of us have to go much further than this website to start making a difference in terms of recognizing and appreciating the immigrant labor that creates so many of the amazing meals we eat.  I don't think anyone would argue that the "known" chefs we talk about and celebrate here are much less likely to be immigrants.  But next time we have a fantastic meal at that Chinese hole in the wall in Rockville or that Ethiopian place in Arlington, why not ask who the chef is and mention them by name in our reviews here?  Not a huge thing but maybe collectively it can make some small difference.  And it's probably not just ethnic places either.  Who's the chef these days at Dino's Grotto? Or Rays the Steaks?

Actually I wouldn’t mention any of these folks by name and of all periods of time this would be the worst.

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3 hours ago, DaveO said:

Actually I wouldn’t mention any of these folks by name and of all periods of time this would be the worst.

a) not all immigrants are illegal immigrants

b) I don't think reporting "had an amazing meal from chef Cheng at XXX last night" is going to get anyone deported 

c) my bigger point is really that we owe as much praise and recognition to the unknown chefs out there as to the ones with lots of money and good PR departments behind them, and that a sizable percentage of those guys (and women) are going to be immigrants.

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5 minutes ago, DaveO said:

The actions of this administration are at the extreme including stripping people of their citizenship as another option. 

Denaturalization is nothing new. It looks like what's new is a systematic effort to find people who committed fraud that led to their naturalization and to seek to denaturalize them. (Denaturalization efforts have previously focused on war criminals including Nazis.)

I'm pro-immigrant and pro-immigration, and I'm not sure I have a problem with this. (I couldn't read the linked New Yorker article, but I read this AP article.)

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On 6/20/2018 at 6:36 PM, PollyG said:

"this meal was prepared by immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras, Nepal, Mexico, and Guatemala.  Termination of the Temporary Protected Status program for workers from El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua will cause a restaurant labor shortage in the coming years?"  In order to avoid ICE harassment, the card would likely need to include a statement that the restaurant uses E-Verify to confirm that all workers are entitled to work in the US.  

Almost all TPS recipients receive an EAD (Employment Authorization Document) at the same time. There are roughly 35,000 TPS recipients from El Salvador alone in the DC Metropolitan area, and they are huge contributors in the restaurant, hospitality, landscaping, construction, and renovation industries (to name a few) throughout the region.

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