Restaurants depend on immigrants. Trump’s orders could hit them particularly hard.
By Tim Carman and Maura Judkis
At Kabob Bazaar, the hands that saute eggplant and skewer cubes of lamb belong to immigrants from Latin America, the Philippines and owner Bruce Sarvghadi’s native Iran. But Sarvghadi, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is finding his Arlington restaurant short-staffed this week: His brother, Davood Sarvghadi, who works in the restaurant, had gone home to visit family in Iran. Due to return Sunday, he was prevented from boarding his flight back to Washington, and is stuck in Mashhad, Iran, with no idea when he will be able to return.
“I’m just worried the way that things are going in this nation, with Mr. Trump in power,” said Sarvghadi. “I’m hoping that the people will speak out and he will change his mind about his hard policy. Of course, we all want a safe place to live in, but I think the way that he’s going is a little too extreme.”
[Who makes the tortillas, pierogi and pasta you love? These immigrants do.]
Whether its workers are stranded overseas or threatened with deportation, the restaurant industry is caught in the crosshairs of the Trump administration’s hard-line approach to immigration. Since being sworn into office, President Trump has signed executive orders not only temporarily banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, in the name of national security, but also threatening to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, which do not cooperate with federal officials in detaining people based on their immigration status.