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The lunch rush is over at a popular, cozy restaurant in a city somewhere in Missouri. The owner, Lynn, is sipping a glass of pinot grigio as her cooking crew cleans up.
Like thousands of other restaurants across America, Lynn’s kitchen is staffed mainly with unauthorized Latino workers. She agreed to openly discuss this employment conundrum if NPR agreed not to give her last name, identify her restaurant, name the city, or even specify the type of cuisine. Like a lot of employers these days, she doesn’t want to attract the attention of federal immigration agents.
When asked how many eating establishments have undocumented workers in the kitchen in her Midwestern city, Lynn states flatly: “A hundred percent. You cannot hire American here.”
The article goes on to state the following:
She pays dishwashers $11.50 an hour, $16 for cooks. That’s more than the federal minimum wage, but they get no insurance, vacations or sick pay.
The kitchen manager, Jaime, has been using a fake Social Security number since he came to the U.S. from Mexico 21 years ago. He says he paid an underground seller $60 for it and didn’t ask any questions.
According to the report, Lynn’s entire staff at her restaurant all came from central Mexico into the U.S. illegally. She says if her restaurant is raided and all her employees are taken away, she’d close up and sell everything, because “there’s not enough talented people who really know how to cook.”
“You cannot hire an American here that will show up to work. They will not be committed to their job. In America,” she says, “restaurant work is not a serious profession.”
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Employers Struggle With Hiring Undocumented Workers | “When asked how many eating establishments have undocumented workers in the kitchen in her Midwestern city, Lynn states flatly: ‘A hundred percent. You cannot hire American here.'” https://t.co/2rBZk3mVoI pic.twitter.com/qCE8kvbmnV
— Celia Llopis-Jepsen (@Celia_LJ) August 22, 2019
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