How The Restaurant Industry is Impacted by the Immigration Debate

How The Restaurant Industry is Impacted by the Immigration Debate

To say the immigration topic in the United States is complicated, is an understatement.

Most recently, the national conversation around the subject has been a heated one arising from President Donald Trump’s efforts to shut down the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which protects and provides benefits to Dreamers, people who were brought to the United States as undocumented children, under the premise that it was unconstitutional.

According to advocacy group New American Economy, out of this segment of the population, which amounts to 700,000 immigrants who are currently protected under the DACA program, almost 19 percent hold an occupation in the restaurant or food service sector, as reported by “CNBC.”

Based on census data from 2011 through 2015, New American Economy estimated that the top three occupations by DACA-eligible workers include cashiers (6.5 percent), waiters and waitresses (4.9 percent), and chefs and cooks (4.6 percent). The statistics from the report indicate that the hospitality industry would be the hardest hit if the program was to be no more.

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Chef José Andrés Rises As the 2018 James Beard Humanitarian Honoree

Chef José Andrés Rises As the 2018 James Beard Humanitarian Honoree

James Beard Award-winning Chef, Restaurateur, and Philanthropist José Andrés has been named the recipient of the 2018 James Beard Humanitarian Award.

You may remember hearing about Andrés recently when the celebrity chef turned activist opted to Tweet a selfie expressing he was allegedly not allowed to enter an event in Washington D.C., at the restaurant owner’s and Ivanka Trump’s request. When the first daughter personally replied back to Andrés clarifying that she had nothing to do with the misunderstanding, the chef took the opportunity to bring up a political issue close to him—immigration.

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Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad and Others in Foodservice Voicing Support for Immigrant Workers

Budweiser’s Super Bowl Ad and Others in Foodservice Voicing Support for Immigrant Workers

By Mae Velasco, Associate Editor

The saying goes to never mix business and politics, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain neutral in the restaurant business — especially because it is the business of people and a business founded on hospitality and diverse cuisines.

We’ve seen political involvement backfire in the case of Grubhub’s stock dropping after CEO Matt Maloney released a message against Trump, and we’ve seen others rise and come together, like in the case of nearly 100 D.C. restaurants during Inauguration that committed to donating toward causes that could be at risk by Trump’s administration.

And if the saying is to never bring up politics at the dinner table, then when it comes to the debate on immigration policies, you’ll often find that both sides will choose to sit at very, very opposite ends of the dinner table.

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Washington Report: Trump's Policies Pro-Restaurant?

Video Produced by Denise Toledo

The restaurant industry makes up a big part of the economy. After Tuesday’s election, it seems Donald Trump’s focus on jobs and the economy has resonated with organizations like the National Restaurant Association (NRA). Cicely Simpson, executive vice president of Government Affairs and Policy at the NRA, tells us how the organization engaged with President-Elect Trump and his campaign team to advocate for the industry.

“[W]e really try to educate the campaign about the industry, who we are, and the 1 million restaurants we represent and the over 14 million individuals that we employ. We’ve been working with the Trump campaign all summer to talk about the restaurant industry and the benefits of our industry to the economy.”

Trump’s 100-Day Plan lists many goals that directly affect the industry. His plan to repeal Affordable Care Act has been a main component of his campaign. Affecting industry employees and restaurant operators quite differently, it will be interesting to follow America’s sentiments once an alternate plan is released. Trump’s actions on immigration reform will also factor into the industry, but until it is actually enacted, it is tough to say how it will pan out for the industry.

Be sure to watch for more “On Foodable Weekly: Washington Reports” to keep up-to-date on industry issues and legislation.