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Taconomics

April 22, 2008 |  5:35 pm

Curry_3 While L.A. worries about the fate of taco trucks facing stricter county regulations, London's worried about the impact of immigration policy on curry joints. The Guardian reports:

Thousands of curry restaurant workers gathered in London yesterday to demand that the government relaxes new immigration rules to avert a financial catastrophe caused by crippling staff shortages....

Members of the Bangladeshi community, who were joined by groups from Chinese, Indian, Pakistani and Turkish catering businesses at the protest in Trafalgar Square, also complained that a spate of "heavy-handed" raids looking for illegal workers at restaurants was damaging business.

The culprit behind the curry problem is a new points-based immigration system (briefly considered in this country, and supported by the editorial board). Workers, including chefs, entering England from outside the EU have to speak English and meet certain academic qualifications.

As someone who has tried to make curry by following her immigrant mom's recipe and still failed, I'd like to side with protesters and say curry can't be cooked by the non-native, no matter whether she can speak English and has a college degree. But it's probably more likely that I just can't cook, and people who can -- immigrant or not -- manage just fine.

In any case, the restaurant raid is an interesting point of comparison: Would more Americans object to raids, or at least demand immigration reform to obviate such stop-gap measures, if they saw them firsthand and were left hungry in high-end restaurants?

*Photo of chicken tikka masala, the British favorite, by Bob Carey, Los Angeles Times

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