Immigrant Rally Impact On Tulsa's Businesses
Thursday, April 27th 2006, 9:26 am CDT
Many Hispanics, immigrants or otherwise, are taking the day off work Monday to show support for an immigration rally in downtown Tulsa. In some cases, businesses will actually have to close on Monday, because so many of their staff members are Hispanic.
News on 6 business reporter Steve Berg says one Tulsa business owner, a non-Hispanic, says that's okay with her.
Arizona Restaurant owner Heyka Zambrano says the restaurant will be closed on Monday, so that her workers if they want to, can go to the rally at city hall. "Maybe I could force them one way or the another or bribe them or whatever, but it's a valid cause, cause."
There are others too. The Brook Restaurant's owner says he will be closing, although he is officially remaining neutral on the immigration issue. The News on 6 talked to a roofing company that will be idle on Monday.
There could be some business owners who aren't happy about closing, but as far as Heyka's concerned, the immigration issue is an important one. "The majority, they come here, they work hard and they send their money home." And a complicated one. Heyka, who is a German immigrant herself, says it's not always as simple as it might first appear. "People think they don't pay any taxes, well, anytime they go to the store, they pay taxes."
Heyka admits she went through all the proper procedures to get her green card 13 years ago. But interestingly, she says she was told at the time by an immigration official that it was easier for Europeans. She doesn't know what he meant by that, but to this day, she believes it's easier for some nationalities to get their paperwork than others.
Whatever the problems, she says they won't be solved by a wall, because she says people are desperate enough to get around any wall. "I've been down to Mexico plenty of times to know what the situation is down there and the poverty in some parts is just unbelievable."
Heyka says that all her workers are documented and that she takes out taxes for them. But she points out that she doesn't have any training and doesn't know where she would "get" any training, to spot phony paperwork.