Migration & U.S. Policy + Behind the Kitchen Door
In the wake of disastrous neo-liberal economic policies, millions of people around the world are on the move looking for work. There is a backlash. In 2012 more than 400,000 people were deported from the U.S. The Obama administration deportation numbers exceed George W. Bush’s. The border today is like an armed camp with 20,000 agents patrolling it. There are proposals to double the number of agents and ratchet up spending. The influx of people from Mexico, Central America and elsewhere has led to little to no substantive immigration reform on a national level. Will drones, walls and increased militarization of the border address the issue? Private profit-driven corporations certainly think so. They are all about detection, apprehension, transportation, incarceration and deportation of immigrants. They are lining up for more lucrative government contracts. What would constitute a humane and fair immigration policy, one that kept families together?
How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? $2.13 an hour. And how do poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? The quality of the food depends not only on the sourcing of the ingredients but also from the attention and skill of the people who chop, grill, sauté, and serve. Increasingly, people are choosing to dine at restaurants that offer organic, fair-trade, and free-range ingredients for health and ethical reasons. Yet few of us are aware of the working conditions at the restaurants themselves. But whether you eat haute cuisine or fast food, the well-being of restaurant workers is a pressing concern, affecting our health and safety, local economies, and the life of our communities. Interviewed by David Barsamian.
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