José Andrés says lawmakers have undocumented immigrants to thank for the food they're eating at the Capitol.
The celebrity chef and philanthropist spoke Wednesday at the Senate Democratic Latino Summit in Washington. During the talk with Sens. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineDemocrats call on Biden administration to ease entry to US for at-risk Afghans Manchin, Sinema join GOP to sink filibuster change for voting bill Desperate Dems signal support for cutting Biden bill down in size MORE (D-Va.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharBipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law Wicker: Biden comments on Ukraine caused 'distress' for both parties Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum MORE (D-Minn.), Andrés described filming a documentary several months ago during the 35-day government shutdown that ended in January.
"I was at the cafeteria at the Senate here because [during] the government shutdown, a guy like me can lease the usage of the restaurant where senators and congressmen eat. The idea was to invite Dreamers to eat there," Andrés said.
The restaurateur, through his nonprofit World Central Kitchen, provided more than 11,000 meals in a single day to furloughed federal workers.
"We went into the kitchen, and we began filming every single box of vegetables," Andrés, 50, continued. "We followed those vegetables all the way [back] to the farms, the fish all the way to the fishing boats, the chickens all the way to the chicken factories. And we found that from the Senate, from the Hill all the way to the place they began, everyone involved in the process from the workers in the field, to the distribution truck drivers, was undocumented in every path."
"Our senators and our congressmen today are eating because more than 11 million undocumented are able to bring the food," Andrés said to applause.
The documentary, according to Andrés, will tell the country "what immigration reform has to happen" and why it's the "right, decent thing to do."
"You know one thing I learned, America without a doubt to me is the most wonderful democracy — imperfect and we need to keep getting it better — but the most beautiful democracy in the history of mankind," said Andrés, an outspoken critic of President TrumpDonald TrumpFormer New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver dead at 77 Biden, Democrats losing ground with independent and suburban voters: poll Bipartisan Senate group discusses changes to election law MORE. "But democracy dies without empathy. We need to start bringing empathy to the conversation of immigration reform."