Venders and Waiters in Chinatown by: Matthew Taylor
What About Them? Chinatown’s illegal immigrants have very limited employment options when they first enter the country. Getting a job often requires them to become involved in ethnic enclaves, and they are usually assigned jobs in Chinatown’s food industry. The two jobs that I will be focusing on are waiters and street vendors in Chinatown
Income Statistics The US Census Bureau reported in 2008 that 36% of American households earning over $100,000 a year were Asian, and that 19.4% of Asian Americans earn between $100,000 and $150,000 17.4% of households in New York County (Chinatown) earn less than $30,000 a year and 14.5% of all Americans making under $30,000 are Asian.
Struggles of being an Illegal Waiter THE LAW!! – Many waiters in Chinatown are illegal immigrants, so they must hide that illegal status at all costs. Wages – Owners and Managers often take advantage of their waiters’ illegal status by underpaying them. Blackmail – Along with being underpaid, many immigrants are threatened on terms of rape, torture, and kidnapping to work long hours and short breaks.
Why Waiters Can’t Defend Themselves They’re illegal – They can’t blow their cover. Blackmail – self-explanatory They don’t want their restaurants to go out of business. If they consult a Union, their restaurant will be forced to pay them more. But if the restaurant can’t afford these higher wages, it may close down altogether.
Street Venders They sell things on the streets Many Chinatown street vendors are also illegal immigrants, and face the same types of problems that waiters do, including having to hide their illegal status and being blackmailed. Waiters pay high rent to the heads of their enclave to claim their spots on the more commercial streets of Chinatown.
Struggles of a Street Vendor Street Vendors wake up really early to unload their goods, set up their carts, and catch morning commuters. They close up really late at night too. They deal with pretty bad weather conditions year round, and it get’s boring standing around all day. High competition, as many vendors sell the same goods. Not only does paying rent seem impossible, but it definitely doesn’t seem worth it.
Criminalizing Street Vending Councilwoman Margaret Chin wants to ban the purchase of fake designer merchandise, employing a $1000 fine or a year in jail. Many vendors specialize in fake designer goods such as Guchi, LooweyVuitton, and Rolexxx, so this bill will effectively destroy their business They’re illegal, no real fallout plan.