The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) is vowing to protect undocumented immigrant restaurant workers and their customers in San Francisco.
Joined by immigration lawyers and Assemblyman David Chiu on Friday, the GGRA announced the Sanctuary Restaurant Program, their addition to a movement of the same name.
Teaming up with the civil rights legal community, GGRA will provide training for business owners and their employees on how to interact with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers and law enforcement at home and in the workplace.
GGRA Executive Director Gwyneth Borden said the restaurant industry contributes greatly to San Francisco’s economy, representing over 60,000 workers and 50 percent of the retail sales tax. She said the immigrant community is the backbone of the industry.
“The reason our city is so vibrant is because we have such diverse cultures and people that are part of our restaurants,” Bowden said. “We want our restaurants to be able to stand up for their workers, know how to protect their workers and articulate to the world why all this matters.”
A series of workshops offered for free to restaurant owners and workers will start on March 20 at Don Ramon’s restaurant. Immigration attorneys and staff from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area are expected to help facilitate the training.
San Francisco Assemblyman David Chiu expressed his support at the announcement, and said San Francisco is proud to be a sanctuary city that stands up for its immigrant communities.
“In Sacramento, in the coming months, we are having a conversation about whether we ought to be a sanctuary state,” Chiu said.
Bowden hopes the sanctuary restaurant movement sends a message to the Trump administration that immigration reform that carves a path to citizenship for immigrant workers is necessary.
“We hope to move away from penalizing and vilifying people and move towards really solving the problem,” Bowden said. “The truth is, our economies can’t exist if we deport everybody who’s not documented.”