Restaurants and More Business Closed for "Day Without Immigrants"; Owners, Employees Protest President Trump's Policies
Feb 18, 2017 09:36 PM EST
Immigrants all over the United States stayed at home as a means of demonstrating their importance to the country’s economy on Thursday. Known as the “Day Without Immigrants,” the nationwide protest involved the closing of numerous businesses across the U.S. to protest against President Donald Trump’s efforts in keeping immigrants away. Such effort will demonstrate how the country will be affected by new policies on immigration.
BBC News reported that the boycott was directly aimed at Trump’s policies relating to aggressive deportations, wall building at the Mexican border and limiting of opportunities for many travelers. According to the “Day Without Immigrants” organizers, they had expected thousands to take part in or show support for the demonstration. The protest even crept into the U.S. Capitol where a number of food stores and restaurants, such as the Senate coffee shop, closed due to the employees’ absence at work.
While the “Day Without Immigrants” protest appealed to immigrants coming from different backgrounds, the strongest impact was felt in the restaurant industry that has brought on a wide range of job opportunities for cooks and servers, among others. Owners of expensive restaurants and fast food eateries alike who come from immigrant backgrounds also participated in solidarity with their employees, as pointed out by Business Insider.
The National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic rights group, spoke about the goal of the “Day Without Immigrants.” “The really important dynamic to note is this is not antagonistic, employee-against-employer. This is employers and workers standing together, not in conflict,” group president Janet Murguia said, adding: “Businesses cannot function without immigrant workers today.”
With at least 12 million people comprising the restaurant industry, up to 70 percent is made up of immigrants, many of whom are residing in Chicago and New York, as noted by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. However, the group also pointed out that approximately 1.3 million employees of this industry remain illegal immigrants in the U.S. today.