Immigration

Bakery Owned By Anti-Immigrant Texas Politician Hired Undocumented Immigrants

CREDIT: Screengrab

Thomas McNutt, Texas state representative candidate

Thomas McNutt, who’s currently running to be a state representative in Texas, is relying on a stringently anti-immigrant platform. He’s criticized “politicians in Austin” for refusing “to address the problem of illegal immigration,” and his campaign website proclaims the country needs to “turn off the magnets that drive further illegal immigration.”

However, McNutt hasn’t necessarily put those policies into practice at his company, Collin Street Bakery — a Corsicana, TX business that’s known for its fruitcakes. At least two undocumented immigrants say they were once employed by the Collin Street Bakery, with one going so far as to call McNutt a “hypocrite.”

Jose Manuel Santoyo, a Mexican national who came to the country at the age of eight, says he worked at the bakery in 2012. Another Mexican national, Luis Aguilar, worked at the bakery during the 2009 holiday season. Aguilar came to the country at the age of two. Both men now has lawful presence in the country because of President Barack Obama’s executive action known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which has granted temporary deportation reprieve and work authorization to immigrants who entered the country as children.

“They gave opportunities to everyone in the community, so for him to come out and speak publicly against some of his own employees really is shameful,” Santoyo said in reference to the bakery hiring undocumented immigrants, according to the Dallas Morning News.

McNutt is the vice president of Collin Street Bakery. He was promoted to his current role in 2015 and “was not involved in the hiring of Santoyo or Luis Aguilar,” the publication reported.

The fact of the matter is that many restaurants are reliant on undocumented labor. According to a 2008 estimate from the Pew Hispanic Center, undocumented immigrants make up 20 percent of the country’s chefs, head cooks, and cooks and 28 percent of dishwashers. Last year, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain criticized Republican frontrunner Donald Trump’s suggestion to deport the country’s 11.3 million undocumented population, noting that “every restaurant in America would shut down” without undocumented workers. Meanwhile, Washington-based chef José Andrés — who pulled out from a deal to open a flagship restaurant in one of Trump’s hotels — said that immigrants “are here contributing.”

Even Trump’s own businesses aren’t immune to hiring unauthorized workers, including at the construction site of his hotel in Washington, D.C. and at his restaurant in New York City.