The national restaurant industry is bracing for a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation that could round up hundreds of migrant families that have received deportation orders. Restaurant owners and worker advocates hope the operation, planned to start on Sunday, will not disrupt an industry already hurting for staff, or broaden into a wider investigation of employees not on the Trump administration’s deportation lists.
President Donald Trump announced on Monday that the roundups would move forward despite debate within the administration over the potential humanitarian issues (separating children from their parents) and political fallout (alienating Democrats as Congress debates a $4.6 billion supplemental aid package to deal with the crisis at the border) of the operation to remove up to 2,000 families. News reports later confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security and ICE would proceed with “family op,” as the agencies call the plan, in up to 10 major immigrant destinations such as Los Angeles, Houston, Miami and other cities.
Restaurant associations and immigrant advocacy groups across the country were sending out mass emails to members and workers this week, alerting them to their rights should ICE agents knock on their doors. The California Restaurant Association, the Illinois Restaurant Association, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (which advocates for restaurant workers), South Asian Americans Leading Together (which advocates for the rights of South Asians in the United States) and the Restaurant Law Center (the legal affiliate of the National Restaurant Association) were among the groups alerting constituents about the expected ICE actions.
Their messages were basically the same: They provided information on what both employees and employers can and cannot do when targeted as part…