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.”

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