CHICAGO — The national debate over immigration policy could be coming to a diner near you.
Dozens of restaurants are seeking “sanctuary” status, a designation owners hope will help protect employees in an immigrant-heavy industry and tone down fiery rhetoric sparked by the presidential campaign.
First inspired by churches, the label is something cities and other public entities have sought to offer local protections to immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, whether it’s barring police from asking citizens about immigration status or refusing to cooperate with federal agents.
Roughly 80 restaurants across the country have signed up, from down-home delis to upscale bistros.
The restaurants agree to anti-discrimination policies, display signs that pronounce their sanctuary status and receive know-your-rights training — what to do if there’s a workplace raid by immigration agents.
The move was made on the heels of President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration policies that began to take effect almost immediately after he took office Friday.