Now There's a Sanctuary Restaurants Movement, And It's Picking Up Steam Nationwide

The movement seeks to protect millions of restaurant workers coast to coast.

It’s been quite a whirlwind since Inauguration Day. Sorry, we meant National Day of Patriotic Devotion. Over the first few days of the new presidency, the White House issued a wide number of executive orders that range from restricting the EPA, to reviving the Dakota Access pipeline, to reversing international abortion funding policies. Whether you're for or against these orders is not really relevant in recognizing that there has been quite a lot going on. We’d try to say exactly how many moves/executive orders have been made so far, but in the time you’ve read this paragraph that number could have easily changed.

One of those movements in particular, however, is causing a strong reaction in the food world: immigration policy.

During his campaign Trump took a hard stance on immigration, and so far he seems to be holding true to his word on the Mexico wall, and on punishing "Sanctuary Cities." Meanwhile, as Grubstreet reports, a group of restaurants are joining together from coast to coast to do what they can to turn their eateries into sanctuaries for immigrants. The community-organized movement, named the Sanctuary Restaurant Movement, seeks to “offer local protections to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, whether it’s barring police from asking citizens about immigration status or refusing to cooperate with federal agents,” according to the Associated Press. The Sanctuary Restaurants site asks owners to put a visible sign saying "A Place At the Table for Everyone" inside the establishment.

Though the movement is mostly symbolic (restaurants can really only do so much to prevent the federal government from investigating), it’s an issue close to the heart of an industry that leans heavily on the work, support and traditions of immigrants from all over the world. AP News reports that some 12 million workers in the restaurant industry are immigrants and that in large cities like New York they may make up 70 percent of the work force.

Obviously different restaurants will have differing opinions about the movement, but it will be interesting to see if it continues to gain traction and, more importantly, to see if food workers become the next group to follow both women and scientists in marching for their cause.

 

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