Did you know that unauthorized immigrants represent about 10 percent of the U.S. labor force in the leisure and hospitality industry?
States like New York, New Jersey, California, and Florida typically employ more unauthorized immigrants in the restaurant and hotel industries, whereas jobs in construction are more available for immigrants in southern states, according to the Pew Research Center.
In response to potential immigration changes, more than 150 restaurants have declared their places of business as “sanctuary restaurants.” Across the nation, these restaurants have posted signs to ensure “a place at the table for everyone” and a commitment to anti-discrimination policies. The restaurants also offer information for immigrants on “knowing their rights” and how to manage an attempted raid, according to a PBS report.
While 10 percent may not seem significant at first, it could leave many hotels and restaurants scrambling to fill positions and cover shifts if unauthorized immigrants are deported in droves. In a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, it was reported that Illinois’ annual GDP could go down $3 billion a year without the existing immigrant workforce.
President Donald Trump has taken strong stances on immigration and has vowed to deport 2 to 3 million unauthorized immigrants with criminal records, regardless of the offense. Whether or not a mass deportation is successful, there may also be stricter verification policies that could impact the hospitality industry. It’s important to note that the National Restaurant Association is pushing for an immigration overhaul, so change may be afoot. Stay tuned…