Throughout cities in America, thousands of businesses, construction companies, restaurants and more are preparing for a nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” Thursday.
The strike/boycott combo aims to highlight the many contributions and benefits that immigrants have on American business and society.
The initiative comes as a response to President Trump’s immigration policies, which consists of a political pledge to close off the nation’s Mexican border, as well as a ban on citizens from certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
Prominent Businesses Closing
Some of the businesses involved in the strike will close for the entire day, while others will stay open and contribute some of the day’s profits to assist Latino communities. Some businesses let their staff decide whether to stay open or not in an internal vote.
Certain closures consist of high-profile business figures, such as entrepreneur and chef José Andrés. He said to NPR, “It was a very easy decision” to close the Washington D.C.-based restaurants for the strike.
Rick Bayless, celebrity chef famous for popularizing Mexican cuisine and flavors, closed four of his Chicago restaurants out of respect after his staff voted to participate in the strike.
Reporter Danielle Karson said from L.A.:
“Thousands of immigrants are skipping work; not shopping; not eating at restaurants; buying gas, or sending their children to school. LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis says immigrants, regardless of legal status, contribute 40 percent of LA County’s gross domestic product: almost $300 billion in tax revenue to the county a year.”
Shock and Outrage at Recent Events
The initiative comes along with outrage after ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents shocked advocates of immigrant rights by detaining around 680 people across the United States in raids throughout last week.
NPR reported that the Department of Homeland Security said the raids are purely routine, and targeted only those criminal convictions.
At least around two schools have closed for Thursday’s boycott in D.C., and Ahmad Erfani, Iranian-born Frenchman says he closed his bakery, Le Caprice.
“Mostly the people who work here are immigrants. We spoke with them, they thought it’s good for solidarity with the others to not work,” he told WAMU.
He added, “They are hard workers. I am not happy when I see they are not very happy these days, because it is difficult. They work hard, they come here six in the morning. It is not very comfortable for us.”