Today’s “Day Without Immigrants” strike appears to have started organically through social media and word of mouth in the local DC area, but the action has since spread like fire across the country.
The strike — which encourages immigrants and their allies to take the day off from work, school, and shopping in protest of Donald Trump’s xenophobic executive orders — is also taking place in Philadelphia, Boston, Houston, Austin, and Chicago.
All have significant immigrant populations that start and run local businesses, and without their hard work and ingenuity, the repercussions would reverberate throughout the economy.
“In 2015, 7.1 million restaurant workers in the U.S. were immigrants, versus 5.1 million who were native born, according to the most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” notes CNN.
“And analysis by Pew Research found that about 1.1 million of the industry’s workers were undocumented in 2014. That makes the industry second only to construction when it comes to relying on undocumented workers.
“If hundreds of thousands of immigrants stayed home from work, New York City would shut down,” Thanu Yakupitiyage of the New York Immigration Coalition tells CNN.
“Immigrants are the lifeblood of the restaurant industry,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.
It’s obvious that business owners understand this, which is why so many have shut down for the day or have severely scaled back daily operations in order to support both their immigrant employees and the community.
And it’s not just businesses that will feel the effect of the strike, either. USA Today notes that hundreds of students — many of them immigrants or children of immigrants — are participating in the strike.
Chavez Supermarket in the South Bay among businesses that will be closed on Thursday in support of #DayWithoutImmigrants. pic.twitter.com/cK2c8O1MnR
— Katie Marzullo (@KatieABC7) February 16, 2017
Sign posted on door at Zavino at 13th and Sansom. Restaurant will be closed today for ‘Day without Immigrants’. pic.twitter.com/VpuPQIXpRW
— Katherine Scott (@KScott6abc) February 16, 2017
Cafe Fina Santa Fe in Santa Fe, #NM taking part in the #daywithoutimmigrants protest. This sign posted outside its doors today #immigration pic.twitter.com/iZ2rhv0APv
— Russell Contreras (@RussContreras) February 16, 2017
Busboys & Poets, Sweetgreen and many other DC restaurants will be closed today as a sign of protest. #DayWithoutImmigrants pic.twitter.com/RLwtpr8Q77
— DC Maryland Virginia (@DMVFollowers) February 16, 2017
In Staten Island, site of recent #ICERaids, many immigrant-owned stores have shut to join #DayWithoutImmigrants. pic.twitter.com/dbkbeCo7R1
— Daniel Altschuler (@altochulo) February 16, 2017
Facebook Live videos from all across the country shine a light on rallies, protests, and marches led by community members and advocates who are participating in the nationwide strike:
ABC15 brought the following clip from a “Day Without Immigrants” rally in Arizona:
LIVE VIDEO: “Day Without Immigrants” Protest NationwideThank you for your feedback. Facebook only allows for 4 hour long videos. This video is about to expire. We have created another video on our Facebook page for you to continue protest discussions.
HAPPENING NOW: “Day Without Immigrants” Protests Nationwide. Discretion advised, sometimes signs can be vulgar.
Posted by ABC15 Arizona on Thursday, February 16, 2017
In Atlanta, Georgia the local newspaper “El Nuevo Georgia” reports that immigrants have organized outside an ICE office:
Ocurriendo ahora frente a ICE en Atlanta. Los inmigrantes se manifiestan.
Posted by El Nuevo Georgia on Thursday, February 16, 2017
In Des Moines, Iowa, the organization Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is streaming a march with hundredths of people speaking out against anti-immigrant state legislation
Check out this amazing show of resistance organized be the Latino and immigrant community in Des Moines. Thanks Joillette and Raquel for organizing this powerful march for immigrant rights. #resist #DayWithoutImmigrants
PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE on your pages and with your networks to say immigrants are #HeretoStay
In St. Paul, Minnesota, FOX 9 reported live as community members marched to the State Capitol in support of the nationwide strike:
‘Day without Immigrants’ walk in St. PaulLIVE: Many are taking part in a walk to the Minnesota State Capitol as a part of a nationwide move, ‘Day Without Immigrants’ (WARNING: this is live, unedited footage)
Posted by Fox 9 on Thursday, February 16, 2017
In Kansas City, Missouri immigration advocates gathered outside City Hall to protest the recent increase in immigration raids. As reported by FOX 4 News Kansas City:
We are Live outside City Hall, where protesters are rallying as part of a nationwide demonstration called ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ to speak out against recent ICE crackdowns, and showing the impact that immigrants have on the community.
Posted by FOX 4 News Kansas City on Thursday, February 16, 2017
In Beechview, Pennsylvania, a “Day Without Immigrants” rally was reported by WPXI-TV Pittsburgh
HAPPENING NOW: A ‘Day Without Immigrants’ rally is underway in Beechview. It’s part of a nationwide movement – that also included store closures – to show what life would be like without immigrants. on.wpxi.com/DayWithoutImmigrants
Posted by WPXI-TV Pittsburgh on Thursday, February 16, 2017
Posted by Interfaith Worker Justice on Thursday, February 16, 2017
News 4 San Antonio provided the following footage from a protest in Austin, Texas:
LIVE: “A Day Without Immigrants” protest in Austin What are y…LIVE: “A Day Without Immigrants” protests in Austin and other cities across the country.
What are your thoughts on this movement?
More on this story: http://bit.ly/2kCiEMK
Posted by News 4 San Antonio on Thursday, February 16, 2017
Interfaith Worker Justice broadcasted scenes from a rally in Chicago, Illinois:
Day without immigrants general strike live from Chicago.
Undocumented immigrants contribute nearly $12 billion in state and federal taxes annually, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. According to the chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, undocumented immigrants have also paid $100 billion into the Social Security fund over the past decade.
In Donald Trump’s home state of New York, undocumented immigrants pay over $1.1 billion in local and state taxes annually.
As for how much Donald Trump pays himself in taxes…well, that’s another story.