Food traders are leaving the streets of New York City for fear of deportation.
In a narrow alley behind the busy queen’s road, hernan’s kitchen churns out more than 4, 000 bars a day for street vendors to sell in New York City. From 3 a.m., hours before a nearby shopkeeper opened the front door, the kitchen was filled with churro batter and crashed into the side of a large industrial blender.
The dough is made from a water dispenser and served in extremely hot oil. The deep-fried doughnut was topped with sugar and cinnamon and piled high on Hernan’s wife’s baking tray.
Ernan moved quickly, pulling the dough out of the blender and into the fryer, so when his supplier received the order, the oil was ready. Time matters – he can’t risk losing more buyers.
It took Mr Ernan 14 years to start wholesale his churro business, but only a week after Donald trump was elected to lose half his customers.
“My business has had a big impact this year and my suppliers are worried that they will be caught and deported.” Elnan spoke in Spanish. We did not use his or other supplier’s full name for fear of deportation. “They left and are now doing other work.”
In the first 100 days of Mr Trump’s presidency, the immigration and customs enforcement administration (ICE) arrested more than 41,000 people, up 37.6 per cent from the previous year. ICE arrests across the country and a rise in other trump administration immigration policies have led to a marked decline in street hawkers and street hawkers in New York City.
“I remember the last few months [when trump was President], there were no people on queen street, not many customers walking as suppliers or suppliers,” said Sean basinski, a street vendor. The project is a non-profit organization that provides legal representation and publicity to street vendors in the city.
There are no statistics on the economic impact of the trump administration’s immigration policies on street vendors, many of them undocumented immigrants. But in Jackson heights, the crown of the sun and queens, Jamaica, it is common to sell food and other goods on the street, and some suppliers say they have lost much of their revenue.
“There was a time when you talked about ICE on Roosevelt avenue,” Mr. Bassinski said. “There’s an ICE van in the subway. “I don’t think it’s true, but people think they will be accepted.
Last year was a turning point for Hernanchurreria. He finally had enough money to use bigger equipment and industrial equipment and extra bakers. But now that his income has halved, he has returned to the streets to sell the bars. On Sunday, he and his wife drove to the suburbs of westchester and Pennsylvania and sold his tarts to the church of a large latino church.
Hernandez arrived in New York 17 years ago from Ecuador. A few weeks after his arrival, he found a job washing cars, earning $30 a day. He remembered never having spent so much money before.
But one night, he saw a young churro seller quickly exchanging money at a train station and decided to become a churro supplier. When he realized he could use more money to provide churro bakers to other suppliers, Hernan persuaded a Mexican baker to teach him his craft. He then set up a network of suppliers to buy his fuel rods.
Among queens like Jackson heights and the corona, more than 57 percent of the population is foreign-born, more than 100 languages spoken, and street transportation provides a livelihood for many immigrants. But for some, it’s getting harder.
On a warm autumn afternoon, Roosevelt avenue for women, selling roast pork shoulder meat around tortillas, aluminium grill kebabs, wandering in the shopping cart, there are $1 corn rice dumplings in the drinks in the fridge to keep warm.
Ms. Greedie, a street vendor who sells lamb kebabs, says her income has halved this year. Even on this beautiful day, she has few clients.
“I didn’t even make $50,” she said in Spanish, as she heated the grill. “The change in the President made people want to spend money because one day they might arrest us and many of our friends are gone.
Ruth, a seller across Glady street, waited for familiar faces, slicing her chicharron, braised pork and beef into thin slices and placing them on a hot flat grill. She thinks customers won’t buy it because they’re afraid to be seen and save money when they or their families are deported.
“A lot of people don’t like me before, because they don’t want to risk, in order to avoid the cost of a lot of people, because what if they met, at least they had some savings,” Ruth in Spanish. “They don’t have that freedom until we appoint a new President.”
New York City has an estimated 20,000 suppliers. In 1981, the city’s street vendors allowed 5,000 problems. That means about 80 percent of suppliers cannot legally operate their food business.
Matthew Shapiro, a senior lawyer for street vendors, says many immigrants cannot find traditional jobs. Street selling is an easy job to make a living. But unlicensed suppliers are at risk of being rejected or arrested by local law enforcement agencies. In the current political environment, the risk of unauthorized sellers is magnified.
Shapiro said any criminal justice system in contact with undocumented immigrants is widely seen as raising the possibility of ICE being detained and deported.
“Because our federal government has adopted a strong immigration stance, it puts them at greater risk,” Shapiro said. “So if they sell and break the law, it could lead to higher immigration consequences.”
Some immigration lawyers, for example, have expressed concern that the number of ICE arrests in court has increased. According to the immigration defense plan, arrests in New York increased by 900% in 2017.
While some suppliers continue to struggle to make a living on the streets, others are looking for new, less obvious jobs. As a supplier, Julia used to sell lunch from a street shopping cart without a license. But over the past few years, mothers of three children have been selling food to reduce the risk of arrest or detention.
“If I continue to go to court [without a license to pay for automatic tickets], they can deport me,” Julia said in Spanish.
Like other street vendors, Julia’s income has declined this year.
Julia was born and raised in el Salvador. Fifteen years ago, she settled in a large immigrant town in Nassau county, long island. She began selling food nearby to support her family.
One evening, ICE knocked at two o ‘clock in the morning and arrested her partner. The agents went into their bedrooms and woke them up. Julia was pregnant. After her child’s father was deported, she did not know how she would support her family.
At night, a light bulb connected to an extension cord lights up elote and polenta (cinnamon, sugar and milk poured into a corn drink) in Julia’s driveway. When the curious neighbor stopped for a hot drink, she poured the wax gourd into a foam cup and added corn mayonnaise, crisp white cheese and chili sauce.
Although Julia earns $500 a week from street vendors, she is now willing to sell her garage for $100. Her new approach, she said, had avoided the fines she had been fined, and now that she was safely asleep, she and her daughter were safe.
Street hawker basinski says the steep decline in street hawkers and their incomes could have a significant cultural and economic impact on the city.
“Who can imagine New York without street vendors? “Ask him. “If we don’t have the streets as small businesses, we’re not going to grow and grow, and that will ultimately affect the economy of New York City.”
A 2012 study by the institute of justice found that suppliers provided 17,960 jobs, $71.2 million in taxes and $193.2 million in wages to the city’s economy.
Hernan, who had dreamed of expanding his stripper business across the country, has shelved his plans. If more suppliers stop selling, he fears that next year will be his last in churreria. “I’m going to have to close my business and go back and sell the bars,” he said. “Next year will be the biggest harvest.”