On Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, an undocumented immigrant, and owner of South Philly Barbacoa, Cristina Martinez, showed incredible courage when she was unafraid to speak on camera despite countless raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on undocumented immigrants under the Trump administration. Not only that, despite Trump’s well documented feelings toward undocumented immigrants (he doesn’t like them), Martinez said she’d welcome him to her bustling restaurant.
“If Donald Trump comes here, he is welcome,” Martinez said to a shocked Bee. Her reason for extending such courtesy to a man who would surely not do the same for her was “Because he is a human being.”
Given the recent negative experiences Trump administration officials Kirstjen Nielsen, Stephen Miller, and Sarah Sanders have had at restaurants, they might want to give it a shot too, because like Martinez said, they’re human beings. Unfortunately, many undocumented restaurant workers aren’t treated with the same dignity. Bee sat down with three workers who were not willing to show their faces on camera.
“There were two of us doing the work of five people. But we weren’t paid more,” said one woman. A man said “It’s scary to talk to your boss because when you want to defend yourself, they look for ways to fire you.” Another woman said, “Yes, they made me do jobs like unclog the toilet. I said, ‘But that’s not my job. I’m cooking. You pay me to cook.’”
Bee had another immigrant on the show, Padma Lakshmi of Top Chef fame, who explained why immigrant labor is so important to the food industry. “I think the food landscape in this country would be completely different without immigrant labor,” Lakshmi said. Asked why, she said, “Because they don’t want to cause trouble. They will do the grunt work that nobody else is willing to do.” She late added, “…everybody has the right to be treated in a dignified manner. Immigrants are people too. We just want to work hard. We just want the same thing for our children that anyone else wants for theirs.”
Bee was also sure to point out that, even for those who feel the same as Trump about undocumented immigrants, nearly everything they eat, no matter at home or in a restaurant, at some point that food was handled by an undocumented immigrant.