Next Monday, the Michigan Restaurant Association will hold a fundraiser in Ann Arbor. Participants will pay $250 to tour three restaurants in the city. For context, $250 is about 2-weeks worth of pay for restaurant workers, who earn as little as $3.38 an hour in Michigan.
To make matters worse, this money is going to a national PAC that funds federal candidates that promote xenophobic and anti-immigrant policies, such as Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-TX) who wants to hire 10,000 more immigration agents to terrorize local businesses and neighborhoods; Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) who praised the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who fed immigrants slob and allowed sexual abuse against inmates; and Matt Gaetz (R-FL) who believes cities who do not support anti-immigrant policies should have their federal funding stripped.
The restaurant lobby will continue to fund candidates who treat immigrant workers as dangerous. This is part of a larger strategy to disempower those at the lowest rungs of the economic and political ladder. Criminalizing immigrants allows big businesses and politicians to profit off a fear-controlled labor force. It also harms local businesses, who follow the law but are forced to bear the brunt of this enforcement, while huge corporations continue to exploit their workers.
We will not allow immigrant workers to be terrorized. We will not allow local businesses to be terrorized. We will not support policies that harm those at the bottom to benefit those at the top.
Call the restaurants that are hosting this fundraiser and tell them that you will not support these policies in Ann Arbor. Tell them that a $250 ticket is a slap in the face to restaurant workers who earn as little as $3.38 an hour. That immigrant families are part of our community and will not be threatened or harassed. Urge them to donate their money to fund centers that provide essential services to immigrant workers and their families.