ICE crackdown: Mexican restaurants, Home Depot parking lots hardest hit


President Trump's promise of increased enforcement of immigration laws is already having an effect.  Mexican restaurants are experiencing a downturn of business.

Cesar Rodriguez, who runs a tamale restaurant on Staten Island with his mother, says customers are staying away. On a good Sunday, the Staten Island tamale restaurant run by Cesar Rodriguez and his mother makes $3,000. Since the start of the year, it has averaged only $1,500, and this past Sunday only $700.

Mr. Rodriguez, who was brought to New York when he was 13 and has temporary protection from deportation under an Obama-era program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, said he thought undocumented residents were saving their money in case they were detained. They may also be reluctant to leave the house for fear of immigration agents stalking outside.

"They are listening to fake news," he said. "Even if it's not true, they are afraid."

Three cheers for fake news!  The fear and memory of past raids seem to be keeping people from their favorite taco restaurants:

Sara Saravia arrived in the United States in 1981 and quickly got a piece of advice: watch out for the men in uniforms. If they catch you, Saravia was told, you'll find yourself back in El Salvador. 

One afternoon, she sat in a restaurant when three men walked in. They wore uniforms. Saravia bolted.

"I left my tacos on the table and took off running," she said.

Illegals are so afraid to go out that they are afraid even to pick up their welfare checks.

Some low-income families in New York with children who are citizens have declined to re-enroll in a program offering food assistance worth several thousand dollars, said Betsy Plum, director of special projects for the New York Immigration Coalition, an advocacy group.

"There's a real isolationist reflex that's happening now," Ms. Plum said.

Even Home Depot parking lots, long a haven for large flocks of illegal aliens, are starting to feel the pinch!

American employers and landlords are feeling the effects of the raids.  A local contractor who used to hire day laborers looking for work in front of Home Depot said men, fearing deportation, no longer congregate there.

Imagine going to a Home Depot parking lot, and all you can see, as far as the eye can see, is... parked cars!

What's next? Will big city Walmart parking lots suddenly become safe to walk around in?  Will English once again become the language of choice in 7-11s?

Ed Straker is the senior writer at