Chef Jose Andres will shut down five of his restaurants
Thursday as part of a boycott in response to President Trump's immigration policies.
Beth J. Harpaz / AP
The protest seems to have been organized by word of mouth through the media. It is unclear how many people will actually participate, although reports suggest restaurants in Austin, Texas; Denver and New York City, as well as the Philadelphia region, are planning to join. However, in Washington, D.C., several restaurants have already announced that they will close the day in solidarity with immigrant workers. That includes five restaurants owned by the famous chef José Andrés.
"It was a very easy decision," Andrew told Robert Siegel of NPR. "When you have employees who have been with you almost 25 years, and they come to you in an organized way and they say, 'Do not be angry but on Thursday we will not work', [the] next thing you ask is, What's going on? What's going on? ' So I decided to join them and support them - that's what we're doing. "
For Andrew, who came to the United States in 1991 and is now a US citizen, this is also personal. "It seems that immigrants, especially Latinos, seem to be under attack," he says. "It seems like we are part of the American dream, but somehow it seems that America is not recognizing what we are doing."
The idea behind the strike, says Andres, is to show the United States what would happen if all the immigrants were to disappear. Not all Andres restaurants will be closed. One of them, China Chilcano, will remain open "so that employees who want to work ... have a place to do it," he says.
Andrés is also involved in a legal battle with President Trump, who sued him after the cook backed out of an agreement to open a restaurant at the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC. Andrés withdrew from the deal after Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and as "bringing drugs" and "bringing offenses" by announcing his candidacy for the presidency in June 2015.
"We have more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States," says Andrés. "They are part of the American DNA, they take care of our farms, our golf clubs, our wineries, our fishing boats" - and, of course, American restaurants. "We have to give those 11 million undocumented Americans the right to belong," he says.
An estimated 1 in 4 restaurant workers is of foreign origin, according to an analysis of census data by Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. And the vast majority of agricultural workers are immigrants; Many of them are in the United States without legal authorization.
The strong dependence of the US food system on immigrants is one of the reasons that, as we have informed, not only chefs but also many restaurants and food brands, both large and small, have supported immigrants in recent weeks in response To the president's policies.
Andrés says the vigorous national conversation about immigration illustrates that it is time for Congress to take up the issue. "What we need to do today is draw a line in the sand and say," Immigration reform can not wait any longer, "he says.
Andrés says the lack of an immigration policy that recognizes the role of these immigrants in the US economy is "a new form of slavery to some extent."
"We let them in," he says. "We need them to work on the farms, we will not be able to serve a salad in the [Congressional] cafeteria if we do not have many of those people working, very often underpaid, without health care, working long hours." source:http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2017/02/15/515441650/chef-jos-andr-s-to-close-restaurants-for-day-without-immigrants