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Meet The Undocumented Woman Running One Of Philadelphia’s Hottest Restaurants

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One of Philadelphia’s best new chefs serves up a whole lot more than food at her bustling Mexican restaurant.

Owner and chef Cristina Martinez is an undocumented immigrant, and her restaurant has become a hub for community members who are looking for both a bite to eat and an understanding ear.

“It’s not just me,” she tells Fusion. “There’s a lot of us who have businesses but we don’t have papers. Regardless, it doesn’t limit us.”

While Cristina is married to a US citizen, our nation’s outdated immigration system prevents her from becoming a part of this country on paper.

As a result, Cristina has not been able to see her children, who are in Mexico. “Everything I do is to plant a seed” for them, Cristina says.

The restaurant keeps Cristina and her husband busy — their food typically sells out before sundown, according to Fusion — but they remain dedicated to helping the immigrant community in both Philly and around the nation.