Today is International Labor Day, a national public holiday in several European, South American, African, and Asian countries, and a day selected for the second of a series of 2017 scheduled boycotts called “A Day Without Immigrants,” or “Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes.” The goals of the national strike are essentially fivefold: 1) to change the conversation on immigration; 2) to increase awareness about the import of immigrant workers; 3) to gain permanent protection for immigrants living in the country illegally; 4) to protest Trump’s executive order and anti-immigration policies; and 5) to end raids and deportations.
Labor Unions, Civil Rights Groups, and Immigration Reform Activists said they are seeking to amass the largest crowds to have yet turned out for U.S. immigrant rights demonstrations since Donald Trump took office. High School and College students, as part of the Sanctuary Campus movement, will also be engaging in “walkouts.” The Food Chain Workers Alliance has also announced that thousands of workers across the food system, from farm workers to restaurant workers will be striking today. “We are a workforce made up mostly of immigrants, ” says Jose Oliva of the Food Chain Workers Alliance: “Without workers, who does Trump think will harvest the crops, craft the food, transport it to market, stock the shelves, cook in kitchens, and serve the meals?
Although there are several rallies scheduled in many large and small cities across the country, New York City’s biggest rally is planned for the early evening (5 PM), when organizers expect several thousands to gather in downtown Manhattan’s Foley Square for musical performances and speeches by union leaders and undocumented immigrants willing to tell their compelling stories. In New Jersey, marchers are gathering at the Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
“We have never seen such an outpouring of support since the election of Donald Trump, said Kica Matos, a spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement. Says immigration attorney Edward Shulman, Esq.: “Paradoxically, it is interesting to note that the more the Trump administration focuses on anti-immigration policies, plans, and executive orders, the more it generates support for necessary immigration rights advocacy and reform.”