USA TODAY - Businesses in cities across the country prepared to close Thursday as immigrants boycott their jobs, classes and shopping.
Immigrants in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and other major U.S. cities plan to stay home Thursday as part of a strike called "A Day Without Immigrants."
Coming on the heels of roundups of undocumented immigrants nationwide, organizers urge legal residents as well as undocumented ones to participate in the boycott in response to President Trump's crackdown on immigration, which includes plans to build a border wall and a temporary immigration ban on nationals from certain Muslim-majority nations.
"From doctors to dishwashers, immigrants are integral to daily life in the U.S.," tweeted Janet Murguia, president and CEO of National Council of La Raza, as she praised Spanish-American Chef Jose Andrés' decision to close his Washington, D.C., restaurants Thursday.
The celebrity chef said he decided to close after a few hundred of his employees told him they weren’t coming to work Thursday. They asked for his support and got it.
“We are all one," he said. "We should not be fighting among each other, we should all be working together to keep moving the country forward."
Andrés faces a lawsuit against Trump after pulling out of a restaurant deal at Trump's new Washington, D.C., hotel over offensive comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants.
The Trump administration, less than a month in, has implemented policies that advocates call anti-immigrant. The first series of changes included executive actions to build the U.S.-Mexico wall, boost patrol agents to curb illegal immigration and strip federal funding from sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration agents.
Days later, Trump signed a sweeping order that temporarily banned people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely barred Syrians from the country, though an appeals court order temporarily blocked the order. That order has been temporarily suspended while an appeals court weighs whether it will lift the ban.
It is unclear at this time how many immigrants in the United States will join the boycott, but restaurants across the Northeast closed their stories in solidarity with the movement. Health-food chain Sweet Green announced it would close its 18 stores in the DC-Maryland-Virginia area.
“Our diversity is what makes this family great, and we respect our team members’ right to exercise their voice in our democracy," Sweet Green said in a statement. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and hope you understand our commitment to our people.”
Busboys & Poets and more than a dozen other restaurants in the nation's capital announced closings. Other restaurants in New York, Philadelphia, St. Paul, Minn., and Austin, Texas, have announced closings.
In New Mexico, the state with the largest percentage of Latino residents in the U.S., school officials worry that hundreds of students may stay home.
“We respectfully ask all parents to acknowledge that students need to be in class every day to benefit from the education they are guaranteed and to avoid falling behind in school and life,” Albuquerque Public Schools principals wrote in a letter to parents.
Students who take part in the protest will receive an unexcused absence, Albuquerque school officials said.
In Phoenix, acclaimed chef Silvana Salcido Esparza said she will close three of her Phoenix restaurants for the day: Barrio Cafe, Barrio Urbano and Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva.
"You know what, my restaurants don’t function without immigrants. That starts in the field, people who pick our food, the processing plants, the slaughterhouse, I could go on," she said Wednesday, hours after she was named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef — Southwest for the fifth time.
Contributing: Kaila White, The Arizona Republic; Delia Goncalves, WUSA; Monsy Alvarado, The (Bergen County, N.J.) Record; The Associated Press
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