Chefs with Issues is a platform for chefs and farmers we love, fired up for causes about which they're passionate. John Currence is the chef and owner of City Grocery Restaurant Group in Oxford, Mississippi. In 2006, he received the Southern Foodways Alliance "Guardian of Tradition" award, and in 2009, he was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as "Best Chef South."
I am an odd animal. I am a chef and restaurateur with conservative fiscal views and liberal social ones. I consider myself reasonable.
While one part of me is extremely happy with the executive order President Obama issued last week which will allow certain younger, "qualifying" immigrants to apply for work permits, without fear of reprisal, another part of me is entirely disappointed that this homogenized edict is as far as he was willing to go in, what amounts to, an attempt to grab a fistful of votes in the coming election.
The services of the hospitality industry and all its support businesses are in greater demand than we have ever known in our country's history - as is the need for entry-level, unskilled and decidedly unromantic labor in order to fill that demand. Government entitlement programs have almost entirely eradicated ambition and work ethic from the American workforce by making it more appealing to live on the dole than to put in a day's work for a day's pay.
The paradox here is that small business is put in the position of outspending the government to coerce unwilling laborers to work. We can't battle a business model willing to spend itself into an $18 trillion deficit with no fear of reprisal.
Enter immigrant workers.
Restaurants, construction sites, housekeeping services and landscaping firms are kept afloat by these immigrant workers today. In restaurants alone, a vast majority of dishwashing, custodial, prep and line cook positions are populated by Latin American workers.
Look behind the doors at one of my favorite and insanely bustling French bistros in New York and you are hard-pressed to find someone not speaking Spanish. Along the Gulf of Mexico, Vietnamese people have swooped in to bolster a sagging native workforce in the fishing and oystering industries. Thousands upon thousands are in oil and gas production, shipyards and fabrication operations. Without their willing hands, our workforce is crippled and business shutter.
I remember very clearly watching CNN on August 29, 2005, as it became clear to us exactly what was happening to my home city of New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina passed just to its east. I turned to my dad and said, "Well, we'll be adding Latin food to the bevy of opportunities to eat in NOLA once this is all over."
It was clear to me immediately that if the mess that Katrina had left behind would ever be cleaned up, the houses rebuilt and the infrastructure repaired, it would mean the wholesale movement of a huge number of Latin Americans to the New Orleans area. That is exactly what happened. New Orleans was rebuilt quickly and the city is richer for their being there.
I can not survive without the Latino segment of the workforce in Oxford, Mississippi. I employ a tremendous number of people who do extremely unglamorous work. We pay them well and take care of them as well as we can. I have trouble getting American-born workers to even apply for those positions when we advertise, much less show up.
The issue here is not whether or not the President issued a "feel good" order to address this subject. The question is: How do we keep this segment of the population engaged in the process of pursuing the dream they came here with their sights set upon? How can we begin to dismantle entitlement programs which 80 years of data suggest have done nothing but remove ambition from the vocabulary of the American worker and keep these people from falling prey to the same folly?
There are millions who have moved to our wonderful country, have participated in the system, have succeeded and have prospered and there are certainly those who haven't. The issue is how we can provide those people, interested in participating, who are already here, with a clear path to citizenship and freedom.
Previously - Why diversity matters in a restaurant kitchen and The kid with the stinky lunch
Well, the adult illegal immirgants you hire have kids and the government gives them free and reduce lunch programs with a kid which most of these business will not give a chance they don't have kids. In Orange County the children and grandchildren of low skilled Mexican immirgants tend to drop out of school more than the native born and collect welfare more. California shows that over hla of welfare receiptants are hisapnic usually a parent or gradparent came illegality to do a low skilled job. Wages in construcation have been driven down by illegals, resturants and fastfood that usually don't pay as much are probably not driven down as much. And I get tired that whites don't work hard. Call Center work is usually harder than fastfood or landscaping since you have to deal with very difficult customers all workers are legal whether they are white or hispanic and pay is not high from 8 to 14 an hr.
In my opinions, first thing Americans need to do is:
a. Stop complaining so damn much for Christ sakes! You have to start from somewhere. Americans want everything so at the end they got nothing. Oh yea, and I'm not against smoking weed as I have done it from time to time, even today, but a lot of American stoners' habits of smoking weed is rather disgusting, honestly. If you want it to legalize, you gotta behave and stop being such a lazy dumb ass.
b. Stop trying to be Europe. Europe has so much government hands out due to their citizens are so eager to take vacation to "explore other parts of the world" (I've seen those prior to moving to the US), and their imperialism during the 1800's and early 1900's as well as the economic colonialism that started in the late 1800's are the source of their problems. They have built empires that no one can really afford. Honestly, right now if Americans are not so aggressively protecting Israel (which was a British colony prior to WW2.), as well as the mess they created in many other parts of the world, Europe would be gone already. Now America is sort of a "puppet empire" of Europe. We have fought aggressively for THEIR interests and even copying THEIR policies under Obama administration. Now that's what we get: broke, busted, depressed, just like them. But it's not too late to change this practice. So, stop trying to be Europe will be one of the vital part of rebuild our economics.
There are more to it, but those 2 are the foremost things for us to do if Americans want their economics back.
As an immigrant from Taiwan (legally.) who has worked at many retails and fast food before as well as being on job hunting for a warehouse or manufacture job (I currently working at Jack in the Box where the majority of the workers are Mexicans). I've seen a lot and I believe that I have rights to say about the issues.
Ok so at first, probably back in the 60's and 70's, when the US actually had real industries that support a real economic, we has many entry level general labor jobs such as manufacture, warehouse, packaging...etc that doesn't requires too much experience nor skills in operating those expensive machines. Back then the fast food were mostly for kids. But then again, we had labor unions that were complaining about the environments in most of the factories and warehouses, so the these jobs with a huge opportunity for potential growth has shipped to China and India.
So now what? After so many years, all we really have left are restaurant (real and fast food alike) and big box retails, or the jobs that requires extensive college degrees that will probably create you so much debt from student loan that you won't be able to pay off until you in your 40's. Then again, I'm not saying the restaurants are good as those jobs can be rather nasty, but regular Americans, after ditched all the good job opportunities, still refused to do those. So they end up hiring illegals who has escaped their countries after The US has turned their countries into banana republic shit holes due to overly aggressive foreign policies. And we're complaining about we don't have jobs and the south of the borders are taking over.
Don't you find it pretty ridiculous?
Why can't you say ILLEGAL immigrants. No one is upset about immigrants with work visas, or green cards, that work in restaurants. IMMIGRANTS are welcome additions to our country. Illegal immigrants that cut to the front of the line and try to bring this country down with demands for various services, those are not so much wanted.
Do you ever get the true facts? He even made it very clear in his article that not many American citizens apply or even show up for unskilled job positions when he advertises for a job opening. Being in the restaurant business for years I know that is very true. Lots of spoiled lazy Americans would rather live on welfare than doing dishwash or mob the kitchen floor for a minimum wage. That's why a scumbag like Poman Rolanski is saying those nasty things comfortably sitting in his couch living on a welfare and all he does is blaming hard working illegal immigrants. Get a life.
Well Roy here's the deal. ILLEGAL is just that ILLEGAL! PERIOD! You're just part of the problem if you hire them. Become part of the solution, DO NOT hire them, and if your chefs and other folks want to work in the kitchens then make them do ALL of the work, not part of it! If they don't like it, then get out of the kitchen and suck it up cupcake! There's things I don't like in my job too but I have to do it. I'm a skilled worker and work for the electrical union. Believe me there's lots of things I'd rather be doing at work then some of the things I end up with at times. But it's ALL part of the trade.
So with that said, here's my belief! You say Americans are too lazy and don't want the unskilled jobs out there? Well here's my take on it. If you're physically able to work and choose to be on welfare, they should offer them the job and if they refuse it, they lose welfare....I was in the military for 20 years and my wife had a hard time finding a job when we returned to the states from Germany. My wife was looking for a FULL time job, and it was above the minimum wage. Well a position opened at a local restaurant which was only seasonal and at the end of the season. The job was only part time, and was below minimum wage and only for a few more weeks, less than a month. Well the woman that interviewed her said the job wasn't what my wife was looking for since it was part time and only for a few more weeks. Well the report went back to the unemployment office that my wife did NOT take the job and she lost her unemployment benefits. Are you freaking kidding me? So I"m sorry but I stand firm on my opinions on this, if you're here illegally GET OUT! And if you hire them and know they're illegal you should have your business license taken away from you. And the jobs should go through the unemployment offices and offered to physically able welfare recipients....
Sorry Rich but Common sense will never prevail again – only money.
Roys – interesting – kids in my area (north of Chicago) are being turned away from the fast food jobs IF THEY DON'T SPEAK SPANISH due to all the illegals already hired there. How is that fair? Get rid of the ILLEGALS and let the restaurants pay what is required.
All illegal immigrants should be rounded up and ground up into food to feed Africa's poor so we can keep our own food in this country to feed our poor.
I think you are being a bit harsh, time to re-up on those meds. I worked in restaurants when I was in high school to earn money for college and a vehicle. I cannot remember seeing an immigrant in those days. It was a time when most kids got a summer job or after-school job. The working-mothers would be the other part-time workers when the kids were in school. Everyone had a job and we were all very happy with the scenario. If you were lucky, the money from the working mothers went toward the extras in life like a prom dress or new baseball bat for their children, savings for a rainy day or maybe just to pay the bills. The working children learned how much work it takes to make a buck and became responsible adults. Now children cannot find jobs, mothers of school aged children and retired fixed-income elders would love to have a part-time job to make ends meet. Sadly these jobs have been designated by someone as "illegal-workers only" jobs. Shame on anyone who cannot see the reality of these statements!
First of all, they are not immigrants. My grandparents were immigrants and entered this country legally thru Ellis Island. The people you are talking about are illegal aliens, who entered this country without adhering to our immigration laws. If we entered Mexico or any other foreign country in this manner, we would be prosecuted and promptly deported. Having worked in the restaurant/hospitality industry for a number of years, I always adhered to the I-9 forms that each employee had to fill out upon being hired. How are you circumventing filing these forms. If you are just ignoring them, then you are in violation of federal employment laws, but I doubt you are doing that. If I were to venture a guess, you are probably paying these employees on a cash basis so you don't have to file the necessary employee paperwork, such as an I-9 or tax forms. Of course this is a winning situation for you as an employer. You don't have to pay for unemployment, social security, or any of the other taxes that other legal restauranteurs are paying. Socially responsible... highly doubtful... predatory employer... extremely likely....
Thanks for saying this....I for one am a firm believer that the standards of the U.S. restaurant business have been substantially lowered because of these thieving illegals. Unfortunately, spineless, vote hungry politicians including Obama have been shamelessly offering all kinds of goodies(some against laws) to entice these blood sucking maggots so these days, they "demand" to be made legal, they "demand" to get jobs and benefits they have absolutely NO RIGHT to have, yet, Obama gives to them....at everyone else' expense.
How "clever" the liberally biased mainstream media outlets – like CNN – are to purposely leave out the word "illegal" in front of the word immigrant for their articles. I doubt you could find many Americans who have any problem whatsoever with legal immigrants. Pitiful, but look how many many people can't see through this quite obvious attempt to spin the story.
This guy is not an odd animal. He is the typical Republican businessman. He doesn't want to pay a living wage, so he wants to import illegals because they will work for next to nothing.
I agree. Businesses always seem to want something for nothing. Yet, they constantly tell the rest of us that we can't have it that way. If they could only realize that you get what you pay for. If they would be willing to pay a living wage (as opposed to just a minimum wage), they would have demonstrably higher quality in their end product and in the process it took to get that product. They would also experience a far smaller turn over rate among their employees, thus lowering their costs of training new people. Who knows, maybe we wouldn't need so many "customer service" centers to handle all the disgruntled customers, as we do now, because the quality of goods and services provided by employees earning a living wage would negate the need for them. Just a thought.
He said "liberal social views", so he must be a democrat....nice try with stereotyping though.
The restaurant owner needs to pay a wage that will bring in workers. Likewise, he needs to raise prices to meet that wage. If the restaurant is no longer viable under that model, then so be it and it goes out of business. If "normal" people cannot afford to go out as much any more, that is too bad as well. People need to know how to cook for themselves.
Minimum wage today is 15% less than it was in 1970. For someone trying to make ends meet that matters. Yet the 1% have gotten richer. Go figure.
Why isn't this guy in jail? Knowingly hiring illegals is a crime isn't it? So is paying them less then minimum wage.
He isn't being charged with a crime because he didn't commit one. He is hiring immigrants, not illegal immigrants, and, yes, he's paying minimum wage.
"Government entitlement programs have almost entirely eradicated ambition and work ethic from the American workforce by making it more appealing to live on the dole than to put in a day's work for a day's pay."
Ummm, it's not really the government entitlement programs that are the problem here. Have you ever been reliant on one of your hated entitlement programs? As a kid, I was for a while. It wasn't pleasant. It's not like they allow you to live in unemployed luxury while laughing at the fools who put in an honest day's work. But it sure was nice to know I wouldn't starve because my parents came upon some hard times. No one wants to be on the government dole. People simply want to do work that will be worth their while. Why should someone bust their a** all day working for someone like you who's going to make a sweet profit off of THEIR work while paying them LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE (because of tips)? THAT is what has eradicated work ethic and ambition. How about, we just pay our workers a fair, living wage so that they can take pride in their work, actually feel valued, and WANT to do a good job? But no, people like you don't like that idea. That might mean one less sports car you can buy this year or god forbid, you might not be able to buy that 3rd or 4th house! Oh the horror! No, you like things just the way they are now, living in your little fiefdom with all your immigrant peasants.
I am a native born US citizen and ethnic Hispanic. I graduated high school and even made an attempt at military service before I was discharged for Psych reasons. I have worked in the food industry since I could walk, LITERALLY! My family owned a restaurant. Due to the previously mentioned Psych (not learning) issues I am almost totally unemployable and unable to persue higher education. I am also, apparently, NOT disabled, go figure. As such I have been woefully underemployed or in fact UNemployed since my failed military attempt as is the case right now. The ONLY job I am qualified for and can even perform is serving tables. I live in central Ca and CAN NOT GET WORK! I ask for no benefits and nothing more than minimum wage. Who do you suppose is receiving this highly rewarding and well paying job? Undocumented workers and TEENAGED GIRLS! We all know how vital it is for a 16 or 17 year old child to have a job. After all they have HUGE bills, rent, electricity, food, etc. With all of this my family and I have been FORCED to live on vile and evil "Government Entitlements". So I will right now BEG the people of this FINE and GENEROUS country for forgiveness. My children beg your pardon with every bite of Peanut-butter. My diabetic wife bows her head in shame every time she must use public funds to get her insulin.
One of the reasons illegal immigrants are willing to do that job is because they don't qualify for some of the government assistance you say is keeping poor Americans lazy. I'm afraid if we hand them all citizenship, nothing will stop them for doing the same and also saying 'hey! I'm entitled to this welfare!'. And how fair is it to the ones who actually went through the steps to do it legally? I think we have to strike a balance between less benefits for people doing nothing, having Americans more willing to work, and making pay more fair for everyone. Cap salaries! Sure, you may be smart/hardworking enough to deserve 5 times more pay than the lowest paid employee in your place. But 20 times more? I think not.
When I was kid working in restaurants I never saw a hispanic. It was all Americans working. The truth is they pay these people crap and make a ton of profits. Who ever wrote this article didn't keep it real
John, I also worked in restaurants when I was in high school to earn money for college and a vehicle. I cannot remember seeing an immigrant in those days. It was a time when most kids got a summer job or after-school job. The working-mothers would be the other part-time workers when the kids were in school. Everyone had a job and we were all very happy with the scenario. If you were lucky, the money from the working mothers went toward the extras in life like a prom dress or new baseball bat for their children, savings for a rainy day or maybe just to pay the bills. The working children learned how much work it takes to make a buck and became responsible adults. Now children cannot find jobs, mothers of school aged children and retired fixed-income elders would love to have a part-time job to make ends meet. Sadly these jobs have been designated by someone as "illegal-workers only" jobs. Shame on anyone who cannot see the reality of these statements!
The reason young people don't want to work in restaurant is because all these illegal Mexicans make working in the restaurant uncool.
I dont think the young teenagers want to work there because it is hard work and you get dirty. American teenagers are spoiled brats who are lazy and when they get to be in there 20s or 30s they will lucky to find any job. Why do you think the restaurant owners hire latinos. Because they come to work and do the work. American teens do neither. The only thing cool about them is their parent's air conditiong.
They hire Latinos because they know that they will work for pennies because they will sleep 30 to a room, and can be mistreated because they're illegal and won't go to the authorities.
I wholeheartedly agree with you Pablonatlanta. We need to do a better job at getting you all the right to work here legally and be paid a fair wage. People whine about jobs being taken by Latinos. They are not "taken", they are "awarded" because the bosses know who will show up and do the work. Not rocket science my friends. Hang in there dude! Change is acomin'.
Really Pablo? White teens used to be all you would see in fast food restaurants until the dirt from south of the border came in.
White, female, 25, Democratic, US citizen speaking here:
The reason I hate working in the food service industry (waitressing while I pursue an advanced degree) is because of the intense culture clash that happens between front of house and back of house.
I had to quit my last job because my lazy drug-doing boss hired an entire family of undocumented hispanics to work in kitchen and when I was promoted to manager, and I felt that they were not consistent in what the put out, I was outright attacked and accused of being racist! I had no support from my boss and therefore had to quit.
I cannot stand the transition from America to Latin America as soon as you walk into the back of the house. These men who work in the kitchen gawk at the waitresses and make crude comments that they think you cannot understand. This is not a generalization based on isolated incidents. This has happened as EVERY SINGLE RESTAURANT JOB IVE EVER HAD. I feel utterly harassed at work and the language barrier is simply unbearable. Why should I have to learn Spanish to have any communication with my co-workers? If you can't speak English GET OUT. Giving these jobs to Hispanics makes Americans feel that this is no longer a job they can even apply for. If you're not Hispanic you have no sense of community in the kitchen and you likely won't get hired because every manager knows if you don't speak Spanish and you're white, you will be resented and problems are going to arise.
Businesses that hire illegal immigrants do so to (1) pay below legal minimum wage and (2) to evade taxes. Such a business needs to be punished severely. If the restaurant charges me taxes on my meals then they better be paying taxes and providing benefits to their employees. I have no problems with immigrants working at restaurants. I have a big problem paying full price for a meal when the restaurant's workers are making peanuts while the owner collects fat profits.
I was born in New York. I worked in restaurants for 21 years and not once was I offered benefits. Just saying.
Ever been on unemployment?
Before the Latin illegal invasion, Americans did those restaurant jobs. I know, I worked in restaurants myself and watched the takeover happen! THOSE JOBS WERE STOLEN from the American blue collar workers and teenagers by illegals working under the table for less than minumum wage! THEY ARE NOT JOBS NO ONE WANTS! Don't listen to all this lying propaganda! Americans are not too proud for these jobs! We need to send these parasites home and take our jobs back!
Hey you, your ancestors were parasites and infected the mexican upper half long time ago.
Do you see Mexico today, RA? The land that the US ended up with is better off for it.
Our ancestors made America great, your ancestors made Mexico a crap hole that nobody wants to stay.
not so convenient, RA, Ok? Most U.S. citizens' ancestors who came here through Ellis Island or Asia didn't just swim over and set up a fake SS# and receive all the welfare with a smirk on their faces. Early immigrants didn't undercut massive(we are talking about millions) jobs from those who came before them. They didn't sneak in, bankrupt every school, hospital they set their eyes on, steal hundreds of millions of people's identity and run with the ill-begotten money. They didn't drunk drive and kill more than 40,000 american citizens after 9-11, they didn't rape(human and beast alike, mind you..), murder, rob, steal...so much that more than 50 % of many states' jails are Hispanic inmates.
Wow Burbank, that little outburst just about reflects on us all as intolerant jackholes who have a VERY short-term memory when it comes to remembering how we European-descent people got here in the first place. You believe that just because we killed all the natives "fair and square", then appropriated their land, that you have the right to force others out?
GOT THAT RIGHT, BURBANK!
They are missing the poiint. Let immigration happen but let it happen legally
I have to agree with Jack, I think if someone from Mexico wants to come here they should get their documents translated by an approved translator and notarized. Get their biometrics taken. Hire a lawyer to help with the I485, G325A, I131 and a dozen other documents. Then get a physical from an approved physician and fill out the I693, wait 6 months for their interview at the US embassy, re-do the expired biometrics, pay several hundred dollars in fees, wait 6 more months for your visa and then begin their orange picking career legally!
whats wrong with that. Everyone who is not a citizen should go through some documentation process and get set up to pay taxes on income. How else would it be fair to US citizens who do work and pay taxes and live under the constitution of the USA. I served in the military and believe that anyone has the right to live in this country as long as they are legal and have had their background checked no matter how long that takes. That is worth fighting for this country and what makes us great. To roll over and look the other way like Obama did or just speed up the process to make it easier puts Americans at risk. can't allow it.
I agree totally with Jack. There is nothing wrong with LEGAL immigration. Call it what you will: UNDOCUMENTED = ILLEGAL. Allowing Illegals a free ride to citizenship is a slap in the face to all those who used the system to achieve it.
Dont forget that they should learn the proper language in this country
No, Stop immigration period!!!! American economy and social services are already overwhelmed by these parasites.
I say BS to this article and him! When my children tried finding work in a restaurant, they couldn’t because all they would hire were illegal immigrants so they would not have to pay them. They went into every restaurant and even fast food places looking for work. Finally, a sushi restaurant hired them where they stayed for years, one of them even working his way up to the sushi line prep. People like him make me sick coming up with excuses to not hire people.
He is spot on about the fact that as the dole becomes bigger, people are less willing to work.
Handouts destroyed Europe, and they will destroy the US.
We pay people not to work, then have to import people to do the work that they are not doing.
End the handouts and immigration solves itself.
What are all these awesome handouts that you people keep talking about? Food stamps? Or maybe the meager cash assistance given to the disabled to allow them to not live in poverty on the streets or to help out a family in tough times? Or is it the unemployment benefits given to those who lost their job and can't find another?
Ryan, it still won't without fining or arresting folks who exploit the system and hire undocumented employee who get paid less than minimum wage. If these employees where getting paid minimum wage and working these positions then I can see your argument, but the reality is that they aren't.
That is a fallacy. Immigrants get minimum wage. Illegal immigrants also get paid about the same on the low end. The guy you see on the roof is making way more than minimum. And even at day labor sites you will have none jump into the back of your truck for minimum wage. They make more than that even in a state full of illegals with wages that are already low for legal people (cost of living is lower too, though).
There are plenty of places paying $10 an hour to do agricultural work. No skills/education neccessary. Yet they cannot find workers. Even with unemployment over 8%. Meanwhile, in the SAME town as those unfilled jobs, people live on the dole getting paid to watch TV. End the dole and they will work.
At minimum, you should be required to work to get the handouts. Even if it is cleaning streets or sorting recycling. You still have the safety net, but you contribute to society. It's only fair. I'm working to feed/house/cloth/entertain them – they can do SOMETHING in return.
Completely different here in NJ, when a place like Big Lots opens up, the jobs fill within a couple of hours. But many of the lansdscaping and pizza joints hire undocumented workers. The samething with the blueberry fields in Hammonton, many of those folks are undocumented workers.
Oooooooooo, $10 an hour, I'll jump right on that! Why, that's almost enough for me to eat! Never mind pay the rent. I'll just live behind the dumpster out back.
My brother in Simi, CA has 2 sons with college degrees that are now working as minimum day labor recycle sorters just to have jobs since there isn't anything else available right now. The people at the recycle plant like them because they are the most reliable and hardest working! They have Master's degrees!
Anyone that says those stolen jobs were jobs no one wants is lying and heaping an insult on all HONEST (unlike their illegal counterparts) hard working Amercians. Anyone that spouts that LIE one more time should be deported along with these illegal, theiving parasites!
Hey you, your ancestors were parasites and infected the mexican upper half long time ago .
Your ancestors made Mexico such a crap hole let us infest the rest of it and make it better off.
RA People are laughing at you getting sooo confused between the word "infect" and "infest". Learn English.
How old were your children when they applied to those jobs? If they were teenagers, then I bet they had a hard time finding a job for the same reason I had at 16–certain places just don't want to hire teenagers only looking to work somewhere for a short time, and even if your kids weren't like that, that's just the stereotype. I have plenty of friends who were able to find jobs at restaurants, and yes, we're all citizens of legal immigrants. Did you ever think about any other factors that might have affected their job hunting, or did you just point fingers at illegal immigrants? In any case, I think your children learned a good lesson–jobs ARE hard to find, for any given reason. Few people are lucky/qualified enough to walk into their first interview and land a well-paying job.
I pay 10cents an hours under the table, the dining table, and employee get free side salad from salad bar with ice water. Everyone happy.
The whole "illegal immigrant" thing is a joke anyways. The only people who should have any sway in it are the american indians that were displaced. If you want to talk about illegal immigrants, if you're a white christian, look hard in the mirror. Then go back to Europe.
Uh, I'm a native American – as I was born here.
The vast majority of people in the US are native Americans.
We don't call ourselves Europeans.
We call ourselves Americans.
I'm assuming you're around 12 years old as yours is an argument a naive child would make.
What's wrong with his argument? Please tell me what about his statement is false. Were the true NAs (Ryan, unless your race is Native American, being born here doesn't make you one just as it doesn't make me one; I'm Asian) not here long before European explorers? Did they not force NAs from their homes and take their land in an effort to expand US territory?
Apparently most of you do not know how to read. Pay closer attention - nowhere in this article does Chef talk about ILLEGAL immigrants. Being married to a LEGAL immigrant, I can attest that this article is spot-on. My husband has been taken advantage of in nearly every position he's held in the 2.5 years he's been here. Why? Because he actually has a work ethic and is willing to do the jobs that no one else is. Does he always get rewarded for it? Practically never! But he shows up every day and does his job with a smile on his face, which is infinitely more than I can say for the endless parade of co-"workers" who have come and gone in such a short time - most of which aren't close to dependable, the rest who simply aren't willing to do the job.
Moral of the story, learn how to read.
Not all of us LEGAL immigrants are willing to ingratiate ourselves for just any job. Some of us are well educated and intelligent human beings who prefer having a career over just taking any menial job that comes our way. Shocking, I know.
He never said legal immigrants either, so I am not sure what your rant is about. The problem is that many of the industries he's speaking off do not pay anything near a living wage. There are many folks that would do the work on the side, if they could compete. There are guys that would shovel snow and cut grass but can't complete against these companies who have 5 folks to do all of the work (and are much better at it).
Bullkrap! Last summer Alabama passed its version of the immigration law and as a result, there were thousands of acres of produce that rotted in the fields, because no local workers were willing to do the long hard back-breaking work even though they were offered considerably MORE than minimum wage! I witnessed this myself, so please stop claiming that immigrants are "stealing" jobs from our "hard working" youth! What a bunch of Baloney!
I am sure that the landscaping companies and the Chinese shops in NJ would beg to differ.
Nope, he doesn't use the word "illegal," does he? But you can't talk intelligently about immigration without addressing the issue of illegal immigrants. Therefore I think this article is intentionally misleading.
Why would CNN want anyone to know the truth?
I am certainly not anti immigrant, but I disagree with this. I live in Maine, a state with a very low immigrant population and we have a thriving restaurant culture in the state, especially in Portland. Very few immigrants are employed at these businesses. People say the same thing about immigrants doing all the landscaping. Guess what,...not in Maine.
And just so you know, I support President Obamas recent changes in immigration rules.
Sure you support it becuase It doesn't affect you.
Guess I missed the part where all of the immigrants who work in the restaurant, houskeeping, landscaping and construction industiries can't be here legally. Silly me.
"I can not survive without the Latino segment of the workforce in Oxford, Mississippi. I employ a tremendous number of people who do extremely unglamorous work."
What a joke. Why don't you switch industries or shutter your doors if you can't afford to pay your employees livable wages, unemployment tax, etc. I spent 6 years working my way up from custodial, to dishwasher, to prep to line cook and I am a white male. Every single person I worked with was white or black. There was only one restaurant and one immigrant I worked with on the dishwasher who was here legally from Haiti. I am so sick of hearing there aren't people willing to do the job so we have to pay people substandard wages, not pay unemployment tax, etc. Here's an idea, hire high-school students, college students, ex-cons etc. I managed to work up from 6.75 to 12.00 an hour in all of about 2 years and that was a decade ago. It drives me insane to hear this argument that we can't get Americans to do the work. Americans are willing to do the work, I was one of many.
As you said that was 20 yrs ago. Now the unskilled American would rather smoke weed and stay on welfare / unemployment than get their hands dirty. Go to any section 8 apartment complex and look at all of the men just drinking and smoking the day away. The government housing makes it easy. Those entitlement programs are killing our ambition (American men) and willingness to climb up the ladder. people are willing to work when they are hungry.
What you speaking of is a minority and are comparing two different things. If I had a landscaping business and had folks who were willing to work for almost nothing and live together in a 1 bedroom apartment with like ten people then why would I hire someone I have to pay minimum wage to and taxes for. I wouldn't have to deal with their i-9 or W4 paperwork, nor would I have to deal with hiring a HR to explain benefits when their are none. I see guys all of the time walking the neighborhood in the summer or winter trying to shovel snow or cut grass but they simply can't compete with a landscaping company staffed with undocumented workers.
This article is way off base. Why is it that there is no mention of the declining average American income? The middle class supports the restauraunts. The poor can't afford to and their aren't enough of the rich to keep the restaurants open so it falls on the middle class. The median household income has been stagnant for the last 30 years and is now in decline all while inflation is up about 2.5 times. This means a lot less money available for a night out. So what do the restauraunts do to keep the doors open? Pay their employees less... Its a viscious cycle that funnels all the money to the top. When their is none left for the middle class the restauraunts will close. If the median household income had kept up with inflation the wages would be better and finding good help wouldn't be a problem. If wages are good and finding good help is no longer a problem the U.S. citizens will take the jobs and work hard. Unfortunately the corporate model of funneling all profits to the top will never allow a good wage... but a small business owner will. Bring back the small business and oust this corporate control of America!
Illegals have no business being in this country if their ILLEGAL!!!! i pay taxes and i work just as hard. I shouldn't have to press one for english and my dad didn't serve this country to let illegal immigrants get free passes. If they want to be here let them do it legally.
You need to learn the difference between;
There, Their and They're.
Google how to use There, Their and They're for lesson.
Thare, thier, theere, thar, theyr'e, zayre.
While it is true that Americans are not willing to do most of the "menial' labor jobs – it all boils down to wages and benefits – which in most mid to large cities means one cannot ever own a home, car, pay childcare, save for retirement or rainy days. Taking these jobs for most Americans would require a change in lifestyle that they have not been acculturate for such as living with many more adults in a home to combine resources or prioritizing whether to pay childcare or for food or medicine. I loathe the work ethic of Americans but I can only imagine what type of conundrum that must be. This is how people survive in Mexico, India and other countries – American family structure (the kick children out at 18 pov) does not support this type of cooperative common good.
Ahh if only the world could stop f***ing for a little while and stop pumping out units they cant afford. Quite frankly, Im tired of hearing about kids and the cost of raising them. If its so much money and you cant afford having them, then dont bring them to term.
What a crock of an "article". Basically, "I LOVE cheap labor". Then he goes on about the difficulty of fulfilling "unskilled" labor positions. Well, if it's so "Unskilled" then ANYONE should be able to do the job! No? Then that means it IS a skilled job and they should be paid accordingly. Absolutely disgusting.
"Restaurants, construction sites, housekeeping services and landscaping firms are kept afloat by these immigrant workers today. In restaurants alone, a vast majority of dishwashing, custodial, prep and line cook positions are populated by Latin American workers." American? If they're ILLEGAL, then they are NOT American! You know it's funny, I remember my friends and I having these jobs as teenagers. Apparently we're no longer (cheap) good enough. Case and point: A "Five Guys" hamburger restaurant opened in my town a year ago. Started with almost all white people working there. Now? Hardly an English speaking one in the bunch! The service/food is no better, but you can BET the labor is CHEAPER! Perhaps we should focus on the EXPLOITATION of these "trades" and that these people take abuse WILLINGLY out of FEAR while simultaneously cutting out these opportunities to LEGAL, HARD WORKING Americans. I'm sure it's not contributing at ALL to the unemployment problems here? I mean really, who wants to feed their kids anyway?
Anyone who lives or was born in North America, Central America, or South America - is, by definition, an American.
You must have meant to say they are not a citizen of the United States.
Once an establishment of any type gets used to hiring cheap labor and not paying a proper wage they then want to whine about how they cannolt get americans to do the work or apply for the jobs But who would drive 30 minutes or more for a job that pays 7.50 an hour. You have already lost 1 – 2 hours everyday and if you do not have full time hours it gets even worse. When you add in other possible expenses it is easy to see why americans do not want to get payed so poorly and then end up with nothing to show for it.
Kids are a waste these days. They dont want education and are unwilling to do anything except recharge their Apple devices.
This guy is a lying sack of $heet. You mean to tell me with a straight face that in Oxford, MS home of Ole Miss University you can't find a university student who is willing to work? In any college town, which Oxford is one of the top listed college towns; students want and need jobs to have a little spending money in their pocket. The deal is these guys want to run roughshod, pay little to nothing and if they are given any problems, they can threaten to call INS. I'm absolutely sure that among those non ambitious college students in Oxford, they aren't on the government dole. And why is it that when "Americans" are applying for the above mentioned jobs in the oil and gas industry, construction etc there are enormous "qualification" hurdles to surmount. Meanwhile, non english speaking immigrants with no documentation can obtain those same jobs without the background check, without the extensive work history or education?
Case in point and true story; I worked for a major payroll processing company that begins with an A and had to go onsite for a roofing company to demonstrate their new system and payroll process. I saw maybe five people out of around 40 people, who would clearly be identified as white or black "Americans." For two days the sales guy and I had to use an interpreter to explain to the majority of workers what the system was and how to use it. We were in a warehouse and the company had "Fire Barrels" burning wood to heat up the place. And one of the new benefits offered were pay cards that were loaded with their money, so they didn't have to go through the hassle of having a "Bank Account" and they could get an additional card to send back home....no more western union. And if I wasn't steamed enough, they were asking them if they knew others who wanted to work...no application process and considering the job I did setting up the payroll system, I know for a fact they didn't have ssn's or tax id's just an employee number.
I have no problem with immigrants working anywhere in the US, as long as they are LEGAL immigrants. If I had to pay more for food at a restaurant because only legal immigrants or citizens worked there, I would gladly do it.
These are the kinds of people who sicken me. First of all President Obama has done a lot more or just as much for illegals as any president not to mention that he tries to pass immigration reform and the GOP once again were the party of no workers in washington. Also, it's people like this who contribute to illegals coming here by hiring them. They don't want to pay decent wages and continue telling that lie that no one shows up for these jobs. It is usually the republicans who hire illegals and the first to complain about the president. Governor or Arizona should be complaining about her citizens who are hiring them., My daughter works for 9 dollars an hour and she works very hard and attends college. SO it is a lie that Americans don't want jobs, they just want decent pay. GOPs are hypocrits.
It all comes down to culture. The illegals around here live like 20 to an apartment. So, they can work for $5 an hour and still make ends meet, which is why taking these jobs is no big deal for them. Someone like me, who's single and doesn't have family or other people to live with (unless i want to do the roommate thing), can't live on $5 an hour and make ends meet, so if I was, God forbid, forced to take one of these jobs, I'd have to move (under a bridge or to a shelter) and get rid of my car. Pay a living wage and I'll gladly do the work.
Immigrant and undocumented immigrant (or illegal alien) are two different things. An immigrant who learns English, goes through citizenship, follows the law – is welcome. There is a proven path to citizenship and no one should be allowed to skip a few steps. It took me over two years and a lot of fees to get my wife here legally from Colombia. Why should anyone get it for free? Citizenship should be difficult to obtain. You don't speak English, you don't become a citizen.
HOORAY FOR YOU DAVID! I am a firm believer that anyone wishing to become a US citizen should have to speak english and go through the proper procedure. Otherwise you are NOT LEGAL and should not have any rights in this country. I don't understand how ILLEGALS can get unemployment, food stamps, social security and free medical. It makes me sick that I have to pay through my taxes, for them to live here ILLEGALLY. What's wrong with the politician's thinking???? Oh, I know, they don't care about the middle class...we pay for everything!!!!
I am what you call a Texican. My family has been living in Texas since it has been part of spain and we choose to speak spanish as our 1st language. I am will not change the language I choose to speak just because one day a bunch of illegal immigrants from USA came to Texas revolted and stole the land. Neither the naitives should be force to speak english Besides nowhere in the USA constitution states that English is the de facto language. I never get tired of people telling me to speak english here Texas you can go all your life without having to speak any English just the way it was before the anglphones came here illegally. Maybe you all are afraid that history will repeat again but from the other side.
And I'm sure you use all of the benefits the USA provides while simultaneously degrading it. Punk.
So why don't you hop back across the river to the other side. You can speak Spanish trash talk about the U.S. all you want. Oh-and enjoy your quality of life while you're there.
What Bull$iTT this article and all those supporting illegal immigrants is! I for one remember working in a restaurant back in '83 as a high school senior in the city of San Antonio, Tx. I as well as damn near every teen I knew worked in a restaurant as busboys, dishwashers, cooks, hostesses and every job except management. All the jobs that were menial or unskilled were worked by teens; restaurants, landscaping, department stores in San Antonio a stones throw from the Mexican border. Does anyone remember when teens were getting "Summer Jobs" now there are none
I am sick and tired of everyone berating and talking crap about "American" workers, while having their hands out for their $$$. It's not illegals that support the restaurant, construction or landscaping business now is it? What's even worse is the "We can't find qualified" workers to work a $10 hr job as a security guard; that requires a four year degree, basic law enforcement training and minimum of 5 years of experience. And we wonder why America is dying.
I agree!!! I worked in a restaurant in high school. These republicans are just plain ole hypocrits. They can't see past their hate for this president. Jan Brewer should complain about the folks who are hiring illegals in her state. Most like Mitt ROmney are Republicans.
first of all American (all) except the native are all from immigrant parents so you see immigration is not bad thing its what makes up this country all kinds of people, me you and who ever.......sweat and labour
My ancestors came here through Ellis Island. They didn't sneak in here and then expect to be taken care of.
If you are in this country illegally, leave. It's that simple.
"I can not survive without the Latino segment of the workforce in Oxford, Mississippi. I employ a tremendous number of people who do extremely unglamorous work. We pay them well and take care of them as well as we can. I have trouble getting American-born workers to even apply for those positions when we advertise, much less show up."
Well is obviously broadly defined....
I worked for a chef who worked for him.... Immigrant or not, he was pompous and treated most of the staff like crap when he came to visit.... and his food is average. Spend more time in the kitchen and less time writing about your feelings...
Unless American and bred legal individuals start working these menial jobs t below minimum wages, illegal immigration will be needed to keep this country going.
I have never understood how anyone can be fiscally conservative, but socially liberal. Doesn't make any sense.
@Hunter- Exactly – you hit the nail on the head; Basically he is trying to hide how much of a bigot and the hypocrisy revealed about probably complaining about immigrants and then using illegal immigrants when it suits him; A typical Republican who makes press conferences against illegal immigrants then hires them to save money- then to make it worse he insults all american workers by acting as if we are lazy and don't show up- EVEN if we did show up you probably would hire a citizen because you can get an illegal immigrant to work cheaper-hypocrite!
Fiscally conservative = conservative with respect to deficit spending (not necessarily with respect to taxation)
Socially liberal = Gay marriage, gay adoption, legalized substances, no obscenity censorship, for amnesty
The two worldviews are not mutually exclusive.
You apparently conflate/confuse 'socially liberal' with 'liberal spending on social programs'.
"I am an odd animal. I am a chef and restaurateur with conservative fiscal views and liberal social ones. I consider myself reasonable." This is a bunch of hogwash... I read this as meaning I am a liberal who does not want to pay for my liberal ideals so I am therefore reasonable. Typical liberal BS lets run out a bunch of liberal ideas and then get someone else to pay for them. By the time they realize what has happened to them they cant change it. LOL Obama's MO
Socailly liberal-–Being pro-choice.
Fiscally conservative--Believing that paying for abortions is NOT the responsibility of the taxpayer
Socially liberal --Supporting government programs that provide opportunity (e.g. educational loans)
Fiscally conservative--Opposing providing the infirm with taxpayer provided scooters instead of walkers
Socially liberal--In favor of handups
Fiscally conservative--Opposed to handouts
Oxford, MS is a college town with plenty of people looking for work. Are they people that are going to be content with working years on end as a lowly dishwasher and work doubles every day with no overtime? Of course not. Still, that hasn't stopped Mr. Currence here from making millions as restauranteer.
The bottom line is, employees in low skilled, low paid jobs are going to be unreliable. That's the cost of doing business. If Mr. Currence here owned a law firm, he would have dozens of people under him clocking in 80 hours a week and not showing up late and half drunk.
Immigrant workers are ok but illeagl alien workers are not. People who hire illeagl aliens should be fined and/or do some jail time.
It's because the "American People" won't work for whatever money they get paid is that we work those jobs. Our mentality is that some money is better than no money and what ever money we still need we get by working a second job, huh what a concept, getting a second job!!! Try it before you get on your doapbox and bash those of us that put pride behind the need to feed our families.
Keep in mind, some places won't hire legal residents and citizens for some jobs because they want to pay below minimum wage. They don't want to hire someone who would report them for labor code violations.
If we got free health care, food stamps and cheap rent we might could afford to take that low paying job but our jobs are busy paying for your free welfare!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The only way you should be able to "qualify" to work is to have proper, LEGAL
John C– What a pile of crap! You should be thrown in jail for hiring illegals. If there were no illegals here working for pennies, more Americans would have jobs. You'd just have to pay them a decent salary. You're the modern version of the white master - you still want slaves. Despicable.
... authorization – nothing else should be allowed.
Precisely! When I read this article, what I took away is that this man is trying to justify taking advantage of people.....immigrants being the low man on the totum pole. He's making plenty of money and trying to justify poor wages for the people that work for him. Undocumented workers = opportunity for exploitation, and sounds like he's on board with that.
"How can we begin to dismantle entitlement programs which 80 years of data suggest have done nothing but remove ambition from the vocabulary of the American worker and keep these people from falling prey to the same folly?"
...the only people who have the ambition to come to work unskilled labor jobs in the US are those who work unskilled labor jobs in far more oppressive conditions overseas for much lower wages. Many of these people are coming here not for the work but just for the chance to leave, you know, China, Honduras, even Mexico, dirt-poor 3rd-world countries with oppressive governments where they have virtually no chance of advancement whatsoever. Even if they weren't oppressive, they would still have to contend with a significant social hierarchy which retards their advancement, as in countries like India and Pakistan. They aren't coming here to build houses in New Orleans in the summer for $10/hr and eat gumbo. They're coming here to get a foothold in the US. And it is ESSENTIAL that businesses like yours do not encourage widespread illegal-immigration by offering jobs to these people.
*AMBITION* for most Americans means moving up from that level and that is what is driving the high price of a college education these days, that is what is driving many Americans into the military (where they get assistance for college under the GI plan) and it is what is driving Americans to start their own businesses and invest in the financial market. It also is what drove the housing boom, as part of that investment market. Ambition has nothing to do with building houses in New Orleans unless you own a construction company or a company that provides raw-materials. Ambition means NOT doing that labor unless you have to. And as that is real "ambition" then perhaps you should rethink your criticism of it.
Besides, as every good capitalist knows profit is the sale of goods and services for more than their cost of production.
I am sure that the last thing that you want is for these people to actually get "ambitious".
You'd want them to remain willing, happy worker-sheep so that you can continue to make money off their labor.
You should be glad for the dole because it prevents you from having to deal with people who are only there because they need the money. You can focus on the people who are there also because they are foolish enough to work for you, to get it.
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