Businesses across the United States are closed for “A Day Without Immigrants,” and many workers are striking or boycotting the businesses still open. The purpose of the boycott is to highlight the contributions immigrants make to US businesses and society.
“A Day Without Immigrants” is one response to many that were sparked from President Trump’s immigration agenda, such as Trump’s plans to seal the border between the US and Mexico, and banning travel on citizens of seven major Muslim countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. The seven countries have previously been labeled as “countries of concern” in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas.
Danielle Karson of NPR News reported, “Thousands of immigrants are skipping work; not shopping; not eating at restaurants; buying gas, or sending their children to school. LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis says immigrants, regardless of legal status, contribute 40 percent of LA County’s gross domestic product: almost $300 billion in tax revenue to the county a year.
“ ‘It’s incumbent on us to be brave, which we’re prepared to do,’ Solis said. ‘To step up; to say to him, not in my house; not in my county; not in my state.’ ”
The protest proceeded after Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested about 680 immigrant rights advocates last week. The general public was outraged by the arrests that the Department of Homeland Security called “routine” raids for people with criminal convictions.
The interesting thing is that activists and groups don’t know the exact moment the movement started, and there is no known organization behind the boycott. Many boycott advocates claim that they simply heard about it through social media from varying states or they saw a flyer and responded. “A Day Without Immigrants” happened hastily yet has spread nationwide and managed to close many businesses and schools.
In Austin, TX, school faculty reported extremely low attendance from students skipping and joining the boycott. According to the Statesman, teachers reported attendance as low as five students for classes that typically hold 30 students. Some schools have completely shut down, in Washington, DC.
“A Day Without Immigrants,” which was a last-minute protest/boycott, has succeeded in getting the attention of the public, policy-makers, businesses, and schools. As stated before, the purpose of the boycott is to highlight immigrant contributions, after all, we’re all immigrants, but do you support the boycott? How many more boycotts can we expect in response to Trump’s immigration agenda?
Indeed, a day to remember is “A Day Without Immigrants.”