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.
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.
“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.
“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.