DON’T do this:
A customer’s cell phone video caught a 7-Eleven clerk on Tampa, Florida screaming at a customer and asking about his immigration status after the customer used the Spanish word for ‘green’ to ask the clerk for a specific brand of cigarettes. The clerk demanded Hernandez speak English, and is is heard saying, “Are you here legally? Do you have papers? Do you have papers?”
This isn’t the clerk’s job, and if the company has not directed that all customers should not be treated with dignity, courtesy and respect, no employee should be going free-lance ICE on anyone.
A spokesman for the 7-11 owner wrote, “Every customer is important. The statements made by the sales associate were inappropriate and offensive. We are investigating the matter and will ensure it is handled appropriately.”
“Appropriately” means firing the clerk. In addition to acting ultra vires, the clerk is also making the store unpleasant and unwelcoming for other customers, risking an escalating confrontation, and being a jerk while representing the enterprise. Wrong, wrong, and wrong.
If a store owner decided to display a sign that said, “Only legal immigrants welcome,” there is no ethical breach. The owner has no obligation to welcome illegal immigrants, nor is this like declaring unwelcome citizens who are conservatives, liberals, Trump voters or belonging other categories of legal residents. Society cannot and should not, as discussed her multiple times, divide its services, accommodations and institutions according to biases and intolerance. Illegal immigrants, however, should not be welcome, and should not be welcomed. They don’t belong here.
Once in the store and seeking service, the store’s employees should not take any additional action to demonstrate or enforce its declaration regarding illegals. The declaration itself, I emphasize again, is ethically justifiable. Neither the nation, nor the law, nor its citizens should welcome anyone who defies our laws. Similarly, a sign that read, “Escaped fugitives, apprehended felons and spousal abusers are not welcome” would also constitute no ethical abuse—but store employees should not attempt to cross -examine strangers to determine whether they qualify.
I don’t advocate such signs. It’s probably bad business, and will be societal divisive in undesirable ways, since so many Americans are ethically confused on the issue. The forum for addressing illegal immigration is law enforcement, effective policies and clear societal standards, not competing signs.
On a related note, a recent study suggests that millions of non-citizens may have voted in recent U.S. elections, and that those denying that there is any substantial problem are in denial…or perhaps, denying inconvenient facts in the interests of political expediency.