Immigrants in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, Albuquerque, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and other major U.S. cities plan to stay home today as part of a protest called “A Day Without Immigrants.” The goal is to demonstrate the import of immigrants to society, as the Trump administration continues to pursue anti-immigrant Executive Orders. The strike, being facilitated and promulgated by social media and immigration advocates, seeks to show the adverse and disruptive community, familial, and economic impact of hard-line anti-immigration policies and practices.
It is unclear at this juncture how many immigrants in the United States will join the boycott today, but many businesses, restaurants, and schools are choosing to either close their doors or pledge solidarity by engaging in certain acts to show support for the movement. Several restaurant owners and grocery store chains have chosen to close their establishments entirely. More than a dozen restaurants in the D.C. area have pledged to close and six New York City Restaurants have already announced their closing. Health-food chain Sweet Green announced it would close its 18 salad shops in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area, Celebrity Chef Jose Andres chose to close 5 of his restaurants after hundreds of his employees asked for permission not to work today, acclaimed chef Silvana Salcido Esparza said she will close three of her Phoenix restaurants for the day, Andy Shallal, founder of Busboys and Poets, a chain of bookstores and cafes, said his businesses would be closed today, and the list goes on. Other restaurants have pledged to offer only limited service and to demonstrate support by having non-immigrant staff donate their tips to co-workers participating in the protest and to donating a certain percentage of sales to the American Immigration Council or to the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition. Some restaurant owners have pledged to inscribe the phrase, “This meal was made possible by immigrants” on their receipts.
In addition to businesses and restaurants, several schools and colleges around the country are showing support and gearing for both student and teacher non-attendance. Latin American Montessori Bilingual Public Charter School in Northwest D.C. confirmed that they will be closed today, supporting students and teachers participating in the protest. The Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts said it would remove or shroud all artwork created or given by immigrants to the college.
As immigrant students are planning to skip class and immigrant employees are intending to miss work, many citizens are pledging not to shop or dine out today in solidarity. In addition, there are many planned demonstrations scheduled in various cities around the country by immigration advocates and protest organizers.