|Food City in Phoenix filled with shoppers of all ethnicities, but predominantly Hispanic/Latino (all photos by Andrew Candelario, Chris Rutherford, and Orlando Menjivar)|
|Baked goods case at Food City|
|Spices at Food City|
Many locations throughout the Phoenix area
Food City is a grocery store that offers a full range of ethnic and Hispanic food varieties. Food City is an Arizona themed grocery store that was bought out by Bashas’ in 1993. Nothing in the store’s name suggests that the store focuses on Hispanic foods, but inside, most stores offer various Hispanic-themed foods. Because it is the store has Hispanic themed foods many Hispanics, Latinos, and Mexicans are attracted to this store for food from their heritage, this means many illegal immigrants from Mexico are attracted to this store as well. Latino-aimed businesses like privately held Food City in Phoenix is an example of how integrated Arizona is with its Mexican neighbors and how the border issue is much more complicated than simply who is here legally or not.
With many laws in Arizona such as SB-1070 many illegal immigrants are afraid that public bus drivers are asking passengers for papers, that landlords are evicting tenants who can't prove they are citizens, and that the sheriff is going to start sweeping for illegal immigrants at Food City. Because of the loss of illegal immigrants from these laws, Arizona’s economy has suffered from this loss. Bashas' Supermarkets have closed several Food City stores in predominantly Latino neighborhoods in Phoenix and Glendale. Some analysts said this “reflected the beating many businesses have taken as a result of an exodus of Latino immigrants and their families.”1
In 2008 an organization known as No More Deaths backed an effort by the United Food and Commercial Workers to unionize a chain of Food City grocery stores. Their particular interest was to protect illegal workers who where being let go when discovered. Food City serves very diverse economic communities by offering price and quality, presenting food-shopping opportunities to a boarder section of families and provides both an English and Spanish websites.2 Due to Food City being predominantly Hispanic themed many illegal immigrants are not only shopping at Food City but several are even employed there. With immigration being as bad as it’s been, many ICE agents and border patrol agents have surveillanced Food Cities looking for illegal immigrants.
This has clearly been an act that has gone under the radar and is not discussed much in scholarly articles or in the news. Though scoping Food City is not completely unjustified as it has been noted that people have been found at food city that’ll hand out business cards stating “they’re in the business of providing fake documents.”3 These laws put Hispanics/Latinos citizenship into question, and cause racial profiling at food city with government officials, border patrol agents, and non-Hispanic/Latino citizens. Through my experience you may be able to identify a person now and again who may not actually be a citizen at a Food City location. It’s important to acknowledge that although there is very few times that border patrol or ICE agents are investigating these stores, racial profiling is occurring at these locations to find illegal immigrants.
- Andrew Candelario, Chris Rutherford, and Orlando Menjivar