Highland Park restaurant owner helps employee smuggle son across the U.S. border

Otoño opened last year in the restored Frank’s Camera building in Highland Park

Highland Park  — There are thousands of other migrant stories playing out everyday in Los Angeles. An upscale tapas bar in Highland Park is home to at least one of them.

Javier Cabral at LA Taco has a compelling piece on why Teresa Montaño, the owner of Otoño in Highland Park, lent her employee thousands of dollars to pay for a coyote to smuggle his son across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Coyotes smuggle immigrants across the United States’s notoriously difficult and sometimes treacherous border. But they can charge  tens of thousands of dollars.

Montaño’s worker had been working two jobs tirelessly but couldn’t gather enough to pay for a coyote to bring his teenage son across the U.S. border from Mexico where he had traveled from El Salvador.

“I knew I was his last resort and I was really glad that at that point, I was able to do that,” Montaño said. “He is family to me. I don’t put a price tag on that.”

He paid her back within three months, but she wanted to speak out. “People don’t really understand how much this industry relies on the immigrant workforce. We need to recognize this and embrace it.”

Support The Eastsider!

Talk is Cheap, Gathering News is Not

Join the Reader Sponsors whose financial support helps defray the cost of news gathering and storytelling that keep our neighborhoods informed and connected.


  1. Why is supporting legal immigration demonized but this is ok? I don’t get it.

  2. Otono is a joke of a restaurant. For example, they have street corn for $11. What do you get for $11? Cut a cob of corn in half. Now cut one of those halves in half. Now cut that halved half in half. That’s what you get for $11. 1/16 of a corn cob with cheese and tajin.

    I wasn’t going to ever go back, because of that, but now I definitely won’t, because of this.

  3. Wow, she should be arrested for complicity in a crime.

    Odd she’d do this. ICE will love this intel.

    • His isn’t Odd, this is honor and loyalty. I’m sure his is all fiction.
      Dont believe one word! But if true!- SO DOWN!

      Get a life David

  4. This-IS- AWESOME!

    But an $11 dollar elote? No mames!

  5. Wow, this seems illegal. Why is this even a story? Just another reason not to go to this place


    What a damn shame! Will not support this spot!

Post a Comment

Please keep your comments civil and on topic and refrain from personal attacks. The moderator reserves the right to edit or delete any comments. The Eastsider's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy apply to comments submitted by readers. Required fields are marked *