Though Trump has only been in the White House a month, he has attempted to make good on campaign promises to crack down on undocumented immigration. He has accused immigrants of taking jobs from citizens, pledged to build a wall cordoning the US off from Mexico, and tried to pass an executive order banning immigrants from several Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, as well as banning Syrian immigrants indefinitely.
Some employers have embraced the Day Without Immigrants action, closing businesses in a sign of solidarity with immigrant workers, like Philadelphia’s David Suro, himself a Mexican immigrant and owner of Tequilas Restaurant, and Washington state restaurant-owner John Andrade.
— Daniel Altschuler (@altochulo) February 16, 2017
More than 250 restaurants near Charlotte, North Carolina, are closed as well.
Employees in four of celebrity chef Rick Bayless’ Chicago restaurants voted to not come into work Thursday, and Bayless tweeted that he honors their decision, saying, "Out of respect for staff's vote to support Thurs's immigrant civil action, [we’re] closing Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco & Fonda Frontera."
— Pat DeLozier Adelman (@QueenPaloma) February 16, 2017
Other businesses and institutions have decided to stay open but have pledged to donate some of the day’s profits to Latino advocacy nonprofits.
— helwa حلوة (@helwarosa) February 16, 2017
School officials in New Mexico, which houses the country’s largest Latino student population, wrote a letter to parents out of concern for a mass school absence during Thursday’s protest, with Albuquerque Public Schools principals writing in a letter, "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."
— Jonathan Riley (@JonRiley7) February 16, 2017
Officials added that protesting students would receive an unexcused absence.
— jessica (@lavishIatina) February 16, 2017
Erika Almiron, head of the Philadelphia-based immigrant-rights group Juntos, explained that "Our goal is to highlight the need for Philadelphia to expand policies that stop criminalizing communities of color…What would happen if massive raids did happen? What would the city look like?"
— Flaco (@Offmando) February 16, 2017
Almiron detailed that immigrants in the city are concerned about an increase in immigration raids, even though Philadelphia has not seen an uptick in raids, as have other cities.
— Tyler LaRiviere (@TylerLaRiviere) February 16, 2017
This may be due in part to Philly mayor Jim Kenney’s refusal to help law enforcement facilitate deportation, and his desire to assert Philadelphia’s status as a “sanctuary” city.
Kenney told local reporters in early December 2016, "I want everyone to understand that cities, including Philadelphia, have been the bastion of protection for minorities, LGBT people, for immigrants, and we're not walking this back."
He said that the city was willing to cooperate with "anything that is positive. But we are not walking back on civil rights, we're not walking back on minority rights, we're not walking back on LGBT rights, we're not walking back on sanctuary city, we're not walking back on anything we've established to make our city progressive."