A Mexican immigrant with nerves of steel has participated in a stirring video response to Donald Trump's racist comments describing Mexican immigrants as criminals, drug dealers, and rapists. Speaking out against a powerful businessman and politician when your immigration status is vulnerable takes enormous courage, but even more so when you go to work every day as a busboy in a hotel owned by said businessman/asshole. This is what Ricardo Aca recently did, and now Donald Trump wants to "check his file."
Aca, 24, works in Koi Soho, a restaurant that leases space in the Trump Soho. He is not directly employed by Trump, but he passes under the man's name, emblazoned in gold on the facade, every time he shows up for work. And his employers at Koi Soho, who could presumably be in for a tough lease renewal, were deeply unhappy with Aca's outspoken comments. According to the NY Times, Koi Soho tried to pressure the director of the video, Chase Whiteside, to take it down, arguing that it is defamatory. He did not, and you can watch it below:
"I know I could lose my job for just talking about Trump, but it doesn’t make me proud every day to go to work under his name," Aca says in the video. He also works as a runner in the Williamsburg sushi restaurant, Cherry Izakaya, and as an assistant in a photography lab. Aca says he came to America when he was 14, crossing the border illegally, and his parents worked three jobs to put him through college.
Since 2012, Aca has been granted a work permit and deportation deferral, but he still considers himself an undocumented immigrant. "I’m in the deferred action program, which I have to renew every two years,” Aca tells the Times. “I consider myself an undocumented immigrant still because it could just be taken away from me at any time."
"I feel like Republicans think Mexicans are lazy," Aca says in the video. "But I personally work three jobs, my step-father works three jobs. Everything that my family has, we have earned it by working. We came to America because we wanted a better life."
Asked about Aca's statements, Trump said, "We thought he was an illegal immigrant at first." Trump added that while he would not pressure Koi Soho to punish Aca, "I want to check his file."