San Diego French Restaurant Put On ICE

According to the Los Angeles Times, federal immigration officials staged a workplace raid at French Gourmet, a popular French establishment in San Diego's Pacific Beach neighborhood. Unlike the highly publicized workplace raids under George W. Bush, this resulted in the arrest of the owner, Michel Malecot.

San Diego French Restaurant Put On ICE
The French Gourmet

In addition to the 12 felony counts of knowingly hiring illegal immigrants (which, if the book is thrown at Malecot, could result in 60 years of imprisonment and a $3,000,000 fine), the federal government is moving to seize his property, since it was used in a crime. The ability to seize property this way was originally intended to intimidate drug mules; using it for other purposes smacks of Tenaha, Texas-style justice.

In the meantime, according to the Times, Malecot's restaurant is busier than ever; the locals are turning out to support a popular man with a penchant for philanthropy. Malecot will probably not have as much support in the next county to the north; it's easy to predict what the next Racist OC Register Reader Fustercluck of the Day will be.

Let's play a game, Stick a Fork In It readers: guess how many of the upcoming 100 best dishes were probably made by Mexicans working in the kitchen. Latinos in general and Mexicans in particular are the muscle behind the culinary scene here, the people who make restaurants from mulitas to Michelin stars work, and even legal immigrants get spooked by immigration raids. ICE could do the worst damage to OC and LA's Saveur-lauded food scene in its relatively short history.

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