The Day without Immigrants
Actions across this great nation show just how disconnected Trump is from the people
Yesterday, thousands of immigrants took to the streets and walked out of work and school to protest Trump’s immigration policies including a ban on refugees, a ban of travelers from 7 Muslim countries and increasingly aggressive immigration raids. While it was reported that many of the people protesting were the people in the shadows that help keep restaurants running and offices clean, there were also some employers who supported and joined their workers on the picket line.
The action, called A Day Without Immigrants, took place around the country. In Washington DC, celebrity chef and former Trump business partner José Andrés announced that he was closing most of his restaurants Thursday to support the action. Other restaurants in the District like Sweetgreen, a chain of salad restaurants, and Bus Boys and Poets, a chain of bookstores and cafes, also announced that they would close in solidarity with their workers as well. The impact was even felt on Capitol Hill were three of the dining options were closed and the Pentagon saw many of its fast food establishments close for the day.
Fast food restaurants and fine dining, food trucks and grocery stores all shut down, worked with limited staff, or converted their menus into immigrant inspired dishes. In New York City, the famous Eataly Italian Market announced on Twitter that while not shutting down their customers should expect delays in service because as an immigrant company, they would be supporting their workers who were protesting. They also posted signs saying “We are all imported.” Eataly is owned by TV celebrity restaurateur Joe Bastianich and celebrity chef Mario Batali.
In Chicago Chef Rick Bayless asked his staff to take a “strike” vote. They overwhelmingly decided to join the protest and Bayless decided to close four of his restaurants. He also announced that the two that stayed open will be donating 10% of their proceeds to pro-immigration groups. Even the Hamptons saw businesses shut down as several hundred protestors marched through Main St. waving American flags. This march reminded many in the Hamptons that it is not the Bentley’s and Rolls Royce’s that keep the Hamptons running, but rather the immigrant workers.
Unions also joined in the protests. In a statement released by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) supporting the day of action, they said ““From the beginning of this nation, immigrant workers from all over the world have come to this country to work hard and build a better life. Yet, many workers, and many UFCW members continue to suffer from the effects of our broken immigration system.” They then called on Congress to fix the immigration system with common sense immigration reform.
The main theme of the actions where to show the impact that immigrants have. Beyond the food industry, some construction sites shut down due to a lack of workers and schools saw extremely large numbers of students staying home. These protests combined with the General Strike that was called for today, show that American workers and business owners are willing to shut down their businesses, take to the streets and protest the dangerous and divisive policies that Trump is putting forth.