Tacos for Immigration Justice

Tacos for Immigration Justice

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Advocates for immigration reform can count on tacos as more than a quick lunch as they push or federal action.

Members of the Association of United Family Loncheros — a group of 25 or so catering truck owners who make their leaving with curbside sales of tacos and other fare — recently decided to donate part of their profits to help cover various aspects of the public campaigns to promote immigration reform.

This initiative is called Tacos for Justice, and is centered in Los Angeles, although it has lined up some support as far away as Texas.

This idea came from a resolution adopted by delegates at the 4th Annual National Latino Congreso (NLC), held earlier this year in El Paso, Texas, according to Antonio Gonzalez, director of the Latino Voters League (LVL).

"It's a simple idea, and it is that the taqueros' customers will get a 10 percent discount upon presenting a coupon," Gonzalez said. "The loncheros will donate 50 cents for each coupon they receive to a group of organizations affiliated with the National Latino Congreso."

Gonzalez said that 200,000 coupons are being distributed in churches, organizations, and the youth soccer leagues, among other places. He added that funds raised through the coupons will be used to pay for costs of trips by community leaders to lobby legislators in Washington DC, posters for demonstrations in the streets, and other expenses.

Pedro Tevelan said that he has been advertising the tacos-for-justice menu when he parks his Los Buenos Tacos truck at 6th and Alvarado streets in the Westlake district west of Downtown.

"In addition to carne asada, chorizo, al pastor and other ingredients, we now offer tacos of justice because we are part of the Association of United Family Loncheros, which participates in this movement for immigration reform," Tevelan said. "For several weeks now, we have already been supporting this for the good of the community because I'm among those who believe that if they do well, so will I — if they earn well, things will be better for me because they're my customers. I'm sure that the status of millions of people will be legalized, I'm just adding my grain of sand in support."

Maria Zuñiga, a customer of Buenos Tacos, said the loncheros' initiative gives new hope to people who are losing faith in the prospect of seeing reform that will allow them a path to legalization.

"After finding out about the work they're doing, the tacos taste much better," she said. "Hopefully this movement will bear fruit so that everyone will get ahead and this country will get out of the economic crisis."

Douglas Cisneros, who works at another catering truck in the area, said that he is pleased that his boss is part of the Tacos for Justice campaign.

"The loncheros' support of the campaign for immigration reform is good because it's not up to us, it depends on the leaders," Cisneros said. " But we also need to pressure them, and it's really good that my bosses are involved in this because people deserve to have their papers because they're workers and they should be supported.

Another initiative to support the movement is called Texts for Justice, which is taking place on a national level, with the same fund-raising objective as Tacos for Justice. Cell phone users are urged to donate $10 to a fund to be channeled to the efforts of Latino groups pushing for immigration reform. A text message with the word 'reform' sent to 84444 will lead to $10 being deposited in this fund. Text messages also lead to a letter being sent Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, urging legislative action on immigration reform.

Organizers of the Tacos for Justice and Texts for Justice initiatives have said they hope to raise between $500,000 and $1 million.