"Famous" Immigration Reform

I have at my home, a memo from David Goronkin, President and CEO of Famous Dave's, the restaurant at which I work. It is dated April 28, 2006 in regards to Immigration Reform. It reads as follows (grab a snack, it's a little long):

As you all know, the debate about immigration reform continues and this company remains optimistic that a solution will soon be reached. The Senate reconvened on April 24, 2006 and once again began discussing the issue. From what we have learned there is still an opportunity for the Senate to pass a comprehensive immigration bell that will affect approximately 12 million immigrants and their path toward citizenship. We are working with our trade associations and other such groups to ensure that the voice of businesses that depend on immigrants is heard.

It is important that you understand that while you recently may have seen marches by immigrants and their supporters, companies like ours have been working behind the scenes with Congress to change this country's immigration laws for some time. We really believe that without immigrants our industry would not function. For us, it is not mere words. We put action behind those words. The trade associations we belong to have been working to achieve comprehensive and fair immigration reform for all immigrants. While you may not see us marching, we have been concerned and committed to this issue for many years.

Certainly, the peaceful demonstrations that have occurred so far have helped also. They have brought much needed attention to the issue. We feel that is important that you understand this company has been involved with this issue for a very long time and that we are on the same side as protesters. You should also know that many of your coworkers who are not Latino or immigrants are also concerned about this issue and stand behind the peaceful protests as well. This is not a situation where anyone is in it alone.

So far so good.
As some of you may have heard, there is going to be a "National Day of Action" on May 1, 2006 where people are being encouraged to skip work, skip school, boycott products and protest on that day. We certainly understand the motives behind the call for a "National Day of Action"; however, we ask that you wait and consider all of the facts before you decide to participate. In fact several immigrant rights group leaders are encouraging people not to take part in the protests, but instead to wait for the outcome of the Senate decision. Jaime Contreras, president of the National capital Immigrant Coalition, stated that it was premature to do the boycott and that protesters/boycotters should be careful to consider all the repercussions of protesting so soon after the April marches, because this might create a backlash.

Keep in mind, this is all in English.
We are also asking that you remember that we have customers to serve and that many of our competitors will be open on this day as well. Like we did with regard to the April 10, 2006 protest, we ask those employees that are scheduled to work on that day to please show up as scheduled. If you find that you want to attend the protest, please make sure that someone is available to cover your shift. After the march, please show up as well to cover the needs of our company.

Finally, with regard to boycotting companies on that day, we ask that you do not take part in this. We certainly hope that our customers do not boycott us, and you know as well as we know how important customers are to us. This is a difficult time for our country and we understand the reasons behind this impressive call for action. We understand this issue because we are one of the many companies who for years has been calling for immigration reform. You may not see us out there protesting with you but we have been doing a lot of the behind the scenes work that has gotten us this close to immigration reform. Please keep in mind that the protest is for immigration reform, not against your employer.

If you have any questions about this issue, please do not hesitate to contact your restaurant manager. They will be more than happy to discuss with you where our company's stand is on this issue.

In other words... Really, believe us, we've been trying. If you don't come to work, I don't know. There's plenty of other people out there protesting and stuff, they don't really need you anyway. Besides, you have a job to do. Everyone else can go, you should come in. Forget standing up for your rights, leave it for those other folks, they'll do it for you. And don't worry, if you don't come in for your shift, we'll fire you. We've already vaguely explained, in English, that this absence won't be excused. This'll cover our asses without making us look like that's what we were shooting for to begin with. Trust us, we're the large corporate entity that cares.


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