(NEW YORK) — Businesses around the country Thursday are planning to either close their doors or provide limited service in support of a “Day Without Immigrants,” a social media-led protest of President Donald Trump’s promises to crack down on illegal immigration.
The boycott is intended to illustrate the impact immigrants have on the United States, particularly Latino immigrants. Hundreds of business owners in Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia, Austin, San José and Des Moines are participating in the protests.
The president has promised to deport undocumented immigrants, build a wall along the southern U.S. border and use “extreme vetting” on immigrants from select countries.
United For Change, a group based in North Carolina that helped organize Thursday’s protests, wrote on Facebook: “This will be a peaceful day. While the economic effects of the boycott are unknown, most initial reports indicated that the boycott could cause to halt ‘business as usual.’”
In Washington, D.C., nearly 50 restaurant owners said they would either close or offer a limited menu for the day. Celebrity chefs José Andrés and Andy Shallal are among the restaurateurs who have announced their participation.
“We had a deep heartfelt conversation and it was an easy decision,” Shallal told ABC via email of the discussion he had with his kitchen staff. “There are times when standing on the sidelines is not an option. This is one of those times.”
Shallal, who is an Iraqi immigrant, also said that his decision to close all six Busboys and Poets locations was a push for “humanistic” immigration reform, writing, “I want to make sure that immigrants such as myself and others don’t live in fear … We cannot continue to ignore this forever.”
Earlier this week, a similar protest was staged in Milwaukee. Thousands of people attended the “Day Without Latinos, Immigrants and Refugees” march, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
These protests have some history. Nation-wide “Day Without an Immigrant” boycotts and marches were staged on May 1, 2006, in support of loosening the nation’s laws on immigration.
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