There is a restaurant in the Washington, D.C. area that hires illegal immigrants and treats them like crap. 

Why? Because they can.

I have a friend who is an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who is working as a waiter in a local family-owned restaurant.

I eat at this restaurant almost weekly. And I’ve always considered the owners (two brothers) to be nice guys. That was, until last week.

I’m going to say for the record that I have great sympathy for illegal immigrants. That applies especially to people who were infants when their parents immigrated.

What really got me angry was what my friend told me last night. Sitting outside with me on a faded green bench, he explained his dilemma.

The restaurant had not paid him a base hourly waiter’s salary for 11 weeks. Eleven weeks!!! As he said this, he hunched over, ran his fingers through his dark curly hair and stared at the concrete bellow him.

For the last 11 weeks, my friend had to scratch together his living from the tips he got serving tables.

“Why did they do it?” I asked.

“Because they can,” he said. “They know I’m stuck, just like the other guys they’ve hired.”

The restaurant doesn’t appear to be having financial problems. They installed all new tables and chairs just last week.

“I’m going to stand up to them tonight,” he said. “I’m going to tell them I’ll quit if they don’t put me back on salary.”

As we went back into the restaurant I gave him a hug and wished him luck. I also made sure to write down a fat tip on the credit card slip.

When I checked my bank account the next morning, the restaurant had charged me only for the price of the meal. I’m guessing that they kicked him out without even giving him his credit card tips.