By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) – Denver restaurants are facing an employment crisis with the crackdown on immigrants from south of the border.

It has estimated that at least 20 percent of those who work behind the scenes in restaurants are illegal immigrants.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Andra Zeppelin is the editor of the Eater.com website that covers the Denver restaurant industry. She says they fill an important gap.

“People say immigrants are taking away jobs from Americans, restauranteurs in Denver will tell you there are no people who want these jobs,” Zeppelin said.

Silva’s Fish Market is just one place that is concerned about the supply of workers drying up. Owner Jesus Silva is an immigrant from Mexico himself who says the problem is becoming acute.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“It’s already being really hard to find qualified people to work in restaurants and I know it’s going to be a little hard,” he said.

Places like Denver that have been seen as sanctuary cities may see the flow of workers from across the border ebb if a federal crackdown on illegal immigrants becomes a reality.

Zeppelin said the problem could cause some places to fold.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

“I think the restaurants will scramble and some will close. Many have closed in past two years because they couldn’t find good employees,” she said.

So at places like Silva’s Fish Market politics will determine the future. Silva says those affected must speak out.

“I think the real question is if we going to be hiding or come out and talk and flight for it,” Silva said.

In several cities some places have declared themselves to be “sanctuary restaurants” fighting for their workers.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

Comments (11)
  1. Mark Tomey says:

    You know….

    The author of this article wrote it like we should be concerned about illegal aliens and that we should think of “Sanctuary Restaurants” that are trying to shield illegal aliens from identification or deportation, as helpful.

    I think the author of this article is either a racist or anti-American citizen or both!

    He never once mentions all the American citizens who are unemployed and not able to find work, not even menial work because these illegal aliens have driven down wages, working for as low as $3.00 per hour when you factor in all the overtime they don’t complain about.

    Then, he never once mentions that the most severely impacted American citizens are Black & Hispanic American citizens, veterans, handicapped and young people who have historically had those jobs as stepping stones to bigger jobs.

    I’m surprised that CBS4 Denver would publish something so Anti-American and so Racist when they know how badly these criminals have damaged our society.

    If you wanna know what Americans really think about restaurants protecting illegal aliens, check out this link. http://tinyurl.com/Sanctuary-NO

    The illegal aliens need to go home and/or Americans need to boycott Sanctuary Restaurants, especially Silvas, immediately until there are NO MORE illegal aliens taking those jobs and driving down wages.

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  3. Yogi Thebear says:

    If they can’t run their businesses legally maybe they should shut it down.. These employers are tax evaders. They’re not paying workers comp insurance, state and federal withholding tax, medicaid tax, etc. This about them saving money. “Qualified employees” means being able to pay them in cash to avoid taxes.
    What part of illegal do these fools not understand?

    1. Immigrants illegally in the U.S. collectively contribute nearly $12 billion each year to state and local tax coffers, according to a new report that challenges recent election cycle rhetoric.

      The study from the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy found that immigrants in the U.S. without legal permission kick in their billions in the form of income, property, sales or excise taxes.

  4. You know how racist this sounds! Why do people in Denver care so little about Mexicans and those south of the border. The pain and suffering endured for them to get to the U.S. is torturous. Why not advocate for a sane system that normalizes movement across the border? A guest worker program or something. But the current system is in human, and only helps big business that wants inexpensive employees.

    Find a heart.

    1. Joe Smith says:

      “Why not advocate for a sane system that normalizes movement across the border”

      Uh, because hundreds of millions would pour across the border unchecked and unvetted from all countries on the planet, bringing disease, drugs, terrorism, poverty, require tens of billions in free everything including free medical care, and reduce wages for the average citizen to $1.25/hour?

      1. More Mexicans Leaving Than Coming to the U.S.
        Net Loss of 140,000 from 2009 to 2014

        Get your facts straight. They aren’t pouring in now, they’re leaving! Which is the primary reason this lunatics 100 Billion dollar wall is a waste of our money.

  5. Robert Denis says:

    Just how ignorant is the author? Unless these employees are illegal and felons they shouldn’t be too worried.

  6. Joe Smith says:

    easy fix. cut welfare and unemployment payments and keep raising pay until U.S. citizens will take the jobs. living wage becomes the norm and no need for minimum wage laws.

    tens of thousands of living-wage jobs auto-created for citizens when illegals leave.

  7. Funny how liberals never worry about how minimum wage increases decrease employment. What increases the wage is fewer illegal immigrants working at subminimum wages.

    1. Do you have any examples of that? Or is this just your opinion? It sounds made up. Thanks in advance. Have a happy day.

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