MILWAUKEE -- A place to eat and work for all. Some Milwaukee restaurants are taking a stand on immigration and they're joining a national movement.
We've heard of sanctuary cities. Now, restaurants are joining the conversation on immigration. The food industry is made up largely of undocumented workers, but a national movement is providing a safe space.
The chairs were empty, plates clean, and food was being prepped ahead of opening time at Milwaukee's Amilinda on Tuesday, February 28th. Just outside along Wisconsin Avenue, there's a sign that greets customers.
"For the most part, it's been very well received," said Chef Greggory Leon.
The sign denotes the eatery as a "sanctuary restaurant."
"It's important for me to be able to use this space as a safe space for other people who need it," said Leon.
Sanctuary restaurants have become part of a national movement opposing President Donald Trump's immigration reform, and offering a haven for employees and customers.
Amilinda is one of the first in Milwaukee.
"I feel like it's my duty as the son and grandson of immigrants to help other immigrants in this country," said Leon.
The owner of the The National Cafe said they, too, support the initiative. It's something their customers also believe in.
"I definitely try to be as conscious as I can of places that are open and accepting, and certainly sanctuary restaurants is something important to me," said Arlene Bjugstad, customer.
According to a new study, 1.1 million undocumented people work in the food industry -- something Leon knows first-hand.
"The restaurant industry in this country was built on the backbones of immigrants, and anybody that says otherwise has not either worked in a restaurant or hasn't been out to eat," said Leon.