‘Day Without Immigrants’ protest closes U.S. restaurants
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‘Day Without Immigrants’ protest closes U.S. restaurants

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Immigrant supporters marched with others during a protest outside the Grayson County courthouse in downtown Sherman, Texas today. In an action called “A Day Without Immigrants,” immigrants across the country are expected to stay home from school, work and close businesses to show how critical they are to the U.S. economy and way of life.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Protesters chanted outside the Grayson County courthouse in downtown Sherman, Texas today. In an action called “A Day Without Immigrants,” immigrants across the country are expected to stay home from school, work and close businesses to show how critical they are to the U.S. economy and way of life.

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    A mail carrier passed a closed bakery today in south Philadelphia’s Italian Market. In an action called “A Day Without Immigrants”, immigrants across the country are expected to stay home from school and work on Thursday to show how critical they are to the U.S. economy and way of life.

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PHILADELPHIA >> The heart of Philadelphia’s Italian Market was uncommonly quiet. Fine restaurants in New York, San Francisco and the nation’s capital closed for the day. Grocery stores, food trucks, coffee shops, diners and taco joints in places like Chicago, Los Angeles and Boston shut down.

Immigrants around the U.S. stayed home from work and school Thursday to demonstrate how important they are to America’s economy, and many businesses closed in solidarity, in a nationwide protest called A Day Without Immigrants.

The boycott was aimed squarely at President Donald Trump’s efforts to step up deportations, build a wall at the Mexican border and close the nation’s doors to many travelers. Organizers said they expected thousands to participate or otherwise show support.

“I fear every day whether I am going to make it back home. I don’t know if my mom will make it home,” said Hessel Duarte, a 17-year-old native of Honduras who lives in Austin, Texas, with his family and skipped class at his high school to take part in one of several rallies held around the country. Duarte said he arrived in the U.S. at age 5 to escape gang violence.

The protest even reached into the U.S. Capitol, where a Senate coffee shop was among the eateries that were closed as employees did not show up at work.

Organizers appealed to immigrants from all walks of life to take part, but the effects were felt most strongly in the restaurant industry, which has long been a first step up the economic ladder for newcomers to America with its many jobs for cooks, dishwashers and servers. Restaurant owners with immigrant roots of their own were among those acting in solidarity with workers.

Expensive restaurants and fast-food joints alike closed, some perhaps because they had no choice, others because of what they said was sympathy for their immigrant employees. Sushi bars, Brazilian steakhouses, Mexican eateries and Thai and Italian restaurants all turned away lunchtime customers.

“The really important dynamic to note is this is not antagonistic, employee-against-employer,” said Janet Murguia, president of the Hispanic rights group National Council of La Raza. “This is employers and workers standing together, not in conflict.”

She added: “Businesses cannot function without immigrant workers today.”

At a White House news conference held as the lunch-hour protests unfolded, Trump boasted of his border security measures and immigration arrests of hundreds of people in the past week, saying, “We are saving lives every single day.”

Since the end of 2007, the number of foreign-born workers employed in the U.S. has climbed by nearly 3.1 million to 25.9 million; they account for 56 percent of the increase in U.S. employment over that period, according to the Labor Department.

Roughly 12 million people are employed in the restaurant industry, and immigrants make up the majority — up to 70 percent in places like New York and Chicago, according to the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which works to improve working conditions. An estimated 1.3 million in the industry are immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the group said.

The construction industry, which likewise employs large numbers of immigrants, also felt the effects of Thursday’s protest.

Shea Frederick, who owns a small construction company in Baltimore, showed up at 7 a.m. at a home he is renovating and found that he was all alone, with a load of drywall ready for install. He soon understood why: His crew, five immigrants, called to say they weren’t coming to work. They were joining the protests.

“I had an entire day of full work,” he said. “I have inspectors lined up to inspect the place, and now they’re thrown off, and you do it the day before the weekend and it pushes things off even more. It sucks, but it’s understandable.”

Frederick said that while he fundamentally agrees with the action, and appreciates why his crew felt the need to participate, he feels his business is being made to suffer as a result of the president’s policies.

“It’s hurting the wrong people,” he said. “A gigantic part of this state didn’t vote this person in, and we’re paying for his terrible decisions.”

There were no immediate estimates of how many students stayed home in various cities. Many student absences may not be excused, and some people who skipped work will lose a day’s pay or perhaps even their jobs. But organizers and participants argued the cause was worth it.

Marcela Ardaya-Vargas, who is from Bolivia and now lives in Falls Church, Virginia, pulled her son out of school to take him to a march in Washington.

“When he asked why he wasn’t going to school, I told him because today he was going to learn about immigration,” she said, adding: “Our job as citizens is to unite with our brothers and sisters.”

Carmen Solis, a Mexico-born U.S. citizen, took the day off from work as a project manager and brought her two children to a rally in Chicago.

“I feel like our community is going to be racially profiled and harassed,” she said of Trump’s immigration policies. “It’s very upsetting. People like to take out their anger on the immigrants, but employers are making profits off of them. “

On Ninth Street in South Philadelphia’s Italian Market, it was so quiet in the morning that Rani Vasudeva thought it might be Monday, when many of the businesses on the normally bustling stretch are closed.

Produce stands and other stalls along “Calle Nueve” — as 9th Street is more commonly known for its abundance of Mexican-owned businesses — stood empty, leaving customers to look elsewhere for fresh meat, bread, fruits and vegetables.

“It’s actually very sad,” said Vasudeva, a 38-year-old professor at Temple University. “You realize the impact the immigrant community has. We need each other for our daily lives.”

In New Orleans’ Mid-City neighborhood, whose Latino population swelled after the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 created lots of jobs for construction workers, the Ideal Market was closed. The place is usually busy at midday with people lining up at the steam tables for hot lunches or picking from an array of fresh Central American vegetables and fruits.

In Chicago, Pete’s Fresh Market closed five of its 12 grocery stores and assured employees they would not be penalized for skipping the day, according to owner Vanessa Dremonas, whose Greek-immigrant father started the company.

“It’s in his DNA to help immigrants,” she said. “We’ve supported immigrants from the beginning.”

Among the well-known establishments that closed in solidarity were three of acclaimed chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s restaurants in Phoenix; Michelin star RASA in San Francisco; and Washington’s Oyamel and Jaleo, run by chef Jose Andres.

Tony and Marie Caschera, both 66, who were visiting Washington from Halfmoon, New York, thought a tapas restaurant looked interesting for lunch, but then realized the lights were off and the place was closed.

“I’m in support of what they’re trying to say,” said Marie Caschera, a registered Democrat, adding that immigrants are “fearful for their communities.”

Her husband, a registered Republican whose family emigrated from Italy before World War II, said he supports legal immigration, but added: “I don’t like illegal aliens here.”

Associated Press writers Sophia Tareen in Chicago; Juliet Linderman in Baltimore; David Saleh Rauf in Austin, Texas; Alex Brandon in Washington; Kevin McGill in New Orleans; and Russell Contreras in Albuquerque contributed to this report.

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  • This is stupid. There is no problem being an immigrant if you came legally, these people don’t get the difference between legal and illegal? So besides closing some restaurants and stores, many immigrants lost a days pay!

    • Ah, no the Trump order stopped all immigration from the counties named. So, clearly he did have a problem with legal immigration….which is why the courts blocked it. Maybe it’s you that doesn’t get it.

      • IRT Advertiser1, excuse me, but you are posting about the E.O. banning all immigration from the 7 Countries with terrorists controll. We are discussing illegal and legal immigration within the United States.

        • Another fyi, “A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry, and the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspector authorizes or denies admission to the United States.”

        • Save, sorry, but the EO did stop existing green card holders from entering the country. Even those that had held them for years.

        • saveparadise – You seem to fail to understand the VISA is issued by the US Government, with full approval.

          I will agree sometimes the inspecting agents at US ports have a personal bias, are not professional, incompetent, will play God with the traveler just because they can.

          Yes, I have seen it happen. Could not believe those bozos actually could walk and talk on the job.

        • Thank you localguy, please read again. “A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to the U.S. port-of-entry, and the Department of Homeland Security U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immigration inspector authorizes or denies admission to the United States.” This is law not an opinion. I know the difference between legal and illegal.

      • advertiser1, spins his propaganda like the devout good little “D”onkey he/she is. advertiser1, we all know you hate Americans AND LEGAL residents, this is why you too pander to illegals and promote criminal activity!

        • Kuroiwaj, dragoninwater> Great reply to the “mighty Ad1” you tell’em like it is!

          NaloGirl> Good for you, Ad1 was really asking for it and you provided the A__ Whipping.

        • ad1> Please save your feeling sorry for us BS. I’m old enough to handle the good, the bad, and the ugly. Don’t patronize me, I don’t need your concern. Be honest and quit the BS with the posters.

        • Quite frankly, most illegals don’t want to do more than live a good life here. They want to make money to send back home to their relatives, they want the American dream. I’ve known illegals, and they are just like us, they want a better life. How many do you know?

          Now certainly, there are illegals who commit crimes, just as there are Americans who commit crimes. But, tell me how these policies stop them from getting in here. The wall? How much does that cost compared to the current cost? Increasing boarder patrol when we already have over 20,000 employed already…

      • adv1, The court case is not over yet. INA, Immigration and Nationality Act “(f) Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

      • Advertiser1, you do not seem to understand the situation about which you have commented. Trump does not have a problem with legal immigration. The problem he has is one that many Americans have, and that is admitting people legally without being properly or adequately vetted. That should be a concern of every American, but unfortunately it is not, especially with liberals. What Trump’s executive order did was to TEMPORARILY suspend immigration from several countries while new and more stringent vetting procedures are established. What do you not get about it?

        • You are partially right, Trump was trying to (but failed) to temporarily stop entry. Although Syria was permanent, because you know, every Syrian is a threat to the US. Well I guess, I didn’t get the same thing as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    • easily replaced. Just legally bring in Cambodians, Mahatma Gandhi Indians, Vietnamese and Nepalis to do the work now done by illegal Hispanicks. They would jump at the opportunity.

      • Allie> Do you seriously mean what you posted, you want us to go home???? Isn’t home where the heart is? To me home is here, where I was born and MANDAN INJUN or whatever you are, you don’t have the right to tell us to leave. Where were your ancestors over 10,001 years ago? You don’t have the explicit right to give us permission to come here either. You are nobody, just like the rest of us!!! Do you get the picture???? We are either legal immigrants or naturalized citizens. Being born here, I am a citizen of the USA, got it???

        • Ah, no. Allie brings up a good point. Native Americans were here first. They were displaced, not by choice, right?

          Oh, and wait, “To me home is here, where I was born” what about those kids who were born here, even if they were born to illegals? Isn’t this their home too then?

        • ad1> No disagreement with you on the status of the children that were born in the USA.

          But getting back to the point-North Americans were most likely here first, but who is Allie to say get out, we were never given permission to come. If you were to go back in history the Indians were forced or politely saying displaced and by who? The white man or politely the caucasians. To the winner goes the spoils. Indians lose, white man wins. Now who owns the land?

        • NP, so what about children of illegal parents? What about the children of illegal parents who are actually here working legitimate jobs because they want more for their children?

    • nalo, this is the typical Leftist strategy: Obfuscate the issue by turning Illegal immigrants into just plain IMMIGRANTS. They don’t differentiate between the two when, in fact, there is a world of difference. That way, they can paint those of us who disagree with ILLEGAL immigration as opposing ALL immigration. This then justifies labeling us as RACIISTS, which they then use to discredit our opposition. But you’ll never get them to admit their deceit and dishonesty in clouding the issue.

    • ‘Day Without Immigrants’ Really? Didn’t notice any difference at all. Didn’t bother me in any way.

      Looked like more whining Snowflakes and Millennials who are illiterate, do not understand the meaning of “Illegal Alien.” Sad.

  • Only loser are the people that stayed home and businesses that closed. It’s going to be back to normal tomorrow. Do they think this actually going to make Trump change his mind on illegal immigration? Idiots.

  • a more honest assessment would have illegal immigrants only involved in the protest.

    as nalogirl says, legal immigration is not the problem.

    main stream media fluffing a false narrative while shielding illegal immigrants.

  • The hell with them. We only need immigrants because they create all this work to serve immigrants needs. They create their own need with the increased demand for work: For them we have to build more roads, more houses, more water supply, more electric transport, more cars, more stores ,hire more cops, more judges more city service workers, more social workers, build more schools, hire more teachers build more landfills, hire more refuse collection, need more buses more trains, more everything: That is why we need immigrant workers: To serve themselves.

    • Allaha> Correct, and who’s paying for all of this…..we the taxpayers!! Sweden is now relooking their immigration/refugee policy. Too much crime and problems. These MUSLIM refugees are not obeying the laws of the host country, they are forming their own societies and following their traditional ways. They do what the did before in their former country, and it is coming to a collision course. Swedes are learning by what they are now experiencing. Look at Germany, France, Turkey, the list goes on and on. America should not allow so many MUSLIMS into the country…….we will live to regret it.

      • Let me ask this, when the Irish Catholics came here, did they all cluster in communities? Didn’t they follow their traditional way? Weren’t they “tied” or accused of committing a higher rate of crimes than existing citizens? It takes time for a populace to assimilate. As you said, refugees, don’t you think we bear some responsibility for making them that way? As Trump said, “you think our country is so innocent?” And do you really think that most refugees want to create conflict, don’t you think they are trying to escape the conflict?

        Countries like France have forever degraded Muslims, never treated those even born in France like regular citizens…so of course there is animosity there.

        So now, I ask you, how many Muslims do you know? And what are your thoughts on the ones that you do know?

        • Hey and the Irsh catholics did not have trouble in their hearts and want to kill people here. There is a big difference. Ad1 all the way left.

        • adv1, your not being totally honest about the issue between illegal and legal. Seems to me you could have loose interpretation with other laws.

        • Sun, Sorry, I don’t really understand what you are trying to say. Yes, I understand the differences being legal and illegal immigration. I think my overall point is that there is no real proof that illegal immigrants are as bad as Trump and the other posters here generalize. Most are hardworking folks who just want to fly under the radar. They are not a threat to national security, and no more a threat to legal US citizens than any other group.

        • advertiser1; to set you right: Countries like France and Sweden have been degraded by Muslim immigration and are becoming third world societies.

        • Adv1, that still doesnt excuse them from being against the law and only encourages others to disregard the rules. And there is a good number who have resorted to crime that are skitting the system as well as their offspring.

    • Allaha, doesn’t the economy benefit from more road, homes and cars being built? Same is true for teachers, and social workers? Don’t those folks increase the GDP, and tax base?

      • Ad1> The only people that benefit from all the immigration are those agencies that have cropped up that provide some kind of service to them. They want the immigration to continue because it’s BIG BUCKS for them. Greedy people!!! End of reply!

        Allaha> Don’t get to caught up with Ad1’s BS. Too much LEFT THINKING!!

  • All the ILLEGALS went on strike, not LEGAL immigrants! The AP loves to clump all of them together and call them immigrants. I hire lots of immigrants and all of them are legal as far as I know. Not a single one was missing from work today. First hand experience tells me this is more fake news to try to spin their propaganda.

      • Anchor babies born to illegals don’t count but I guess you consider them all legal. Good for you. Now go post something of interest.
        “Carmen Solis, a Mexico-born U.S. citizen, took the day off from work as a project manager and brought her two children to a rally in Chicago.”

  • Spot On sista Nalogirl!
    I mean talk about “Lose Money”. This is foolish ,what’s the point?The only people who are hurting ,are the immigrants themselves! And the students? Will not be getting any credits for staying home either? What did they think all of this was going to be paid for by their Satanic Leader George Soros? Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!How Crazy is that!
    In my Life time?
    I have never heard of a defiant,arrogant immigrant in my life. They act as if this is their right! Many people including the shameful MSM media are instigating this issue & spreading these false lies about how unfair the Trump administration will treat them. If you are here legally?He is not going after these immigrants such as these restaurant workers or Farmers! He is going after the criminals, Killers,Terrorist, Felons and the People who are destroying out families……The Drug Cartels! This was his promise to the people who elected him into office. And why many stand by him!
    Did you watch?
    During President Trumps WH press this morning?At times it seemed hillarious! He had a field day with the MSM. And yes! He was right about the dishonest Fake News media who are doing a disservice to these very immigrants and our Country. But what escapes me is that the MSM doesn’t get it, the people who voted for President Trump are 110% behind him. What is shown on TV or Read in the papers,they haven’t a clue or How strong President Trump’s base really is. IMUA President Trump IMUA!

    • ad1> For one thing, I don’t recall knowing any illegals. Maybe had contact with one or two, without knowing their status. I don’t normally associate with known criminals or illegal aliens. Yes, everyone wants a piece of the American dream……but the dream is only so big. As they often say, if there’s a will, there’s a way. We need to take stringent measures with the intent of minimizing the entry of illegal immigrants. It is not fool proof, but it may dissuade a few from trying. Better than having a open door.

      • Sure you do know known criminals. Have you ever broken the law, speeding perhaps, maybe a beer in public? Ah, I guess then you are better than Puzder huh?

        Like I said though, most are hard working people. So, I would agree, yes, technically speaking they are criminals. But, they are not hurting anyone, then what’s the harm?

        Can you please tell me, “the dream is only so big” means. Sorry, I’m just not understanding.

        • Ad1> Go to the back of the class. You are no better than any of the posters here, and I like the way you try to twist things around so that you can put the person on the defense. Well, to satisfy your diminishing ego, here goes nothing. You are really twisting what is correct with your liberal BS. Everything to you is technically this or that. There is no technical in determining legal or illegal. Beside the point if they are not hurting anyone, bottom line is they are here illegally. Quit being an AH and pick on someone that you can railroad and convince them to follow your burnt out torch. Amen!

    • MoiLee> Your post mirrors my thinking also. Agree with every thing you posted, especially about the “GOD” that goes by the name of George SOROS. This evil guy is behind all the protests and bad things going on to create distractions for the Trump Admin. Posters who aren’t familiar with this guy should look up this guy on the internet and learn of the major conspiracy that is being sponsored by this criminal billionaire. He is wanted on criminal charges in the UK and Russia.

      You are right on with your assessment. Keep up the good work and posts.

  • Many of the illegals are very arrogant and do not feel that they need to assimilate and respect our customs, laws and learn English.
    Instead they demand that we cater to them and change our customs, beliefs, and accomodate their every need.
    They know that what they are demanding would never fly if it was you that had immigrated to their home countries but that does not
    mean anything to do them. Their view is that if you are so stupid to give in to their demands, then it is you who is the fool and you get what you deserve.
    This is why, you see them acting out like they do and unfortunately, the drive by media, the leftists, and the political ruling elites both on the national
    and local levels all support what they are doing for their own selfish reasons. And the exodus of the Third World to our country is what the New World Order
    schemers want and promote as they want to destroy our country and reduce the quality of life for most to that of the Third World, while they (ruling elite)
    live like royalty and rule the world. Unfortunately, the poor from the Third World do not understand how they are being used and manipulated to bring
    about the desired New World Order. The improved quality of life they are seeking will never be theirs.

  • By staying home all they did was hurt their employers and the customers who patronize their establishment….most of the customers aren’t concerned with politics when they come to a restaurant as they are hungry and want to eat…..

  • see how the mental disorder parents have there kids protesting for nothing, so far trump has deported 300 illegal immigrants who were convicted of a crime or drug dealers and all these people are crying foul because trump followed the law and deported them. I never heard these people cry when nerobama became president in 2009 and he deported 360,000 illegal immigrants and 2/3rds were illegals with criminal records where were all you hypocrite news media and protesters when nerobama did this. lets be fair.

  • day without “immigrants” – translation: criminal trespassers = day without crime, day without discarded trash, day without criminal activity, day without welfare handouts, day without emergency rooms clogged…. hmmmm, not too bad…

  • Just wondering… Could an owner or manager fire these protesters who earn more than minimum wage for not coming to work. Then hire another person for minimum wage. Just saying….

    • Yes, legally, the workers are SOL if the employer chose to fire them. Actually, they can be fired even while at work. Many states have at-will employment laws now so you can be terminated for any reason anytime as long as the employer does not violate discrimination laws.