Reader: Illegals are the backbone of the food industry

Chipotle.jpg
A recent immigration-status audit in Minnesota resulted in the Chipotle operations there letting a number of employees go. "Let me be clear, if it were up to us, we would keep all these people," Chris Arnold, director of public relations at the Denver-based Chipotle told Laura Shunk. "They're dedicated, hardworking people who have been with us for years. But under the law, we can't employ them."

That didn't placate the protesters who lambasted the chain for letting employees go over their immigration status; on the flip side, critics who've apparently never been inside a restaurant kitchen offered their own rants about undocumented workers.

Which prompted this response from bb:

I can guarantee you that those were some of the hardest-working people at that company, and Chipotle was lucky to have them. Illegals are the backbone of the food industry as a whole, and if you guys would get off your high horses and actually talk to these people, you would realize this. Unless you're ready to start paying double for your food, you should really accept the fact that they are here and aren't leaving. It's impossible to deport all of them, I'm not saying that I've got the answer, but these aren't bad people and adding that many new people to the labor market and tax pool would most likely be a better way to gain revenue than trying to deport all of them.

Before you say anything I'm German, born in the United States.

What's a restaurant owner to do?

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8 comments
Boardsportsjunkie
Boardsportsjunkie

Cooking is easy, but giving my hard earned dollars to companies that support illegals who don't pay taxes when nearly 35% of my wages are taxed, that's hard.

Tj
Tj

I know one chain I will never eat at again. I refuse to give my business to anyone company that hires illegals instead of American's.

Show and Tell Moderator
Show and Tell Moderator

Interesting you should say so, Boardsportsjunkie, and just chiming in here, but that would be a pretty common misconception. In fact, just like you probably do, ""illegals" get payroll taxes automatically deducted from their checks -- including Social Security and Medicaid taxes on which they will never collect, nor will they get tax refunds. While you complain about them not paying taxes, it's arguable that they're contributing more to the tax base than you are.

rain
rain

I'd think Chipotle employees get paid by paycheck, not cash under the table, so the employers are required to withhold FICA, federal, and state taxes just like for any other employee.

One interesting side effect is that they pay into the system, but there are laws against them taking any benefits out of it.

While you're not eating at the restaurants, you might consider not eating from the supermarket or farmer's market, either. You don't know if those companies (and farms and slaughterhouses and so on) employ undocumented workers or not. And construction? Better not live in a house or drive a car...the roads and buildings might have been built by "illegals".

yan-ee
yan-ee

IGNORANT PEOPLE like u give us all a bad NAME!!!! We are all Immigrants! Unless you are a Native American they are the only TRUE Americans!!!!

Mantonat
Mantonat

American's what? I'd think that anyone so avidly American would at least be able to use the language properly. When you place your order at Chipotle, you probably yell "speak American!" at the help.

Henry
Henry

Hey TJ,

Got any evidence that they were hiring illegals instead of Americans? A more likely scenario is that no American's were applying for those jobs, and they took what they could get. If you aren't going to patronize any business that hires illegals, unless you're willing to grow all your own food, I think you might be getting pretty hungry soon.

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