New York man threatens to report Spanish-speaking staff to authorities

Screenshot of ranting customer from a Facebook video posted by Eddie Suazo on 16 May 2018Image copyright

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Local media report that the man seen in the video is a New York -based lawyer

A video of a man threatening to report Spanish-speaking restaurant workers to US immigration authorities in New York has gone viral on social media.

The footage shows a customer berating staff for speaking Spanish at the premises in Manhattan.

“Your staff are speaking Spanish to customers when they should be speaking English,” he tells one employee.

He then threatens to call the US deportation force, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

“My guess is they’re not documented, so my next call is to ICE to have each one of them kicked out of my country,” he says.

Other patrons at the restaurant can be seen laughing at the man during the incident on Tuesday, which was captured in footage posted on Facebook and contains some strong language.

Social media users have strongly criticised the man in the video, who local media report is a New York-based lawyer.

ICE later criticised the recorded threat to report workers to the agency.

“ICE’s Tip Line is solely for the purposes of making legitimate reports of suspected criminal activity,” Rachael Yong Yow, the spokeswoman for the New York field office of ICE, told the New York Times.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter that the city’s diversity was its strength, adding that it was home to people who share more than 200 languages.

There are currently 56.5 million Hispanic Americans in the US, according to the Pew Research Centre.

Bitta Mostofi, NYC’s commissioner of immigrant affairs, told the BBC: “This is part of what makes us a great city. It’s the diversity we celebrate.

“All of our city agencies and services translate documents in the top 10 languages of city’s residents, who have limited English proficiency.

“What we saw happened in this restaurant, is not something that belongs to our city and it’s not a part of what New Yorkers truly value about who we are.”

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