Day Without Immigrants' protests and strikes shake US

A Day Without Immigrants protest in Chicago on February 16.

"McDonald's workers clearly aren't lovin' Trump's immigration policies," Mashable.com said. "On Thursday, McDonald's restaurants across the United States, along with a variety of other businesses, closed their doors as part of a nationwide 'Day Without Immigrants' protest."

"The protest, which was intended to show how heavily America relies on immigrants in the workforce, took quite the toll on the fast food chain's employee count, causing many die-hardMickey D's fans to miss a day of burgers and fries."

Common Dreams reported

In response to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant executive orders and sweeping deportation raids that have led to nearly 700 arrests nationwide, immigrants in cities across the country walked out of work on February 16 for a “Day Without Immigrants” strike.

The day of action aimed to demonstrate how much the United States depends on immigrants. Businesses, including restaurants and shops, as well as schools, museums, and even federal government offices faced strikes and protests by workers.

“Mister President, without us and without our input, this country will stand still,” declared a poster promoting the strike that was widely shared on social media.

“From doctors to dishwashers, immigrants are integral to daily life in the U.S.,” tweeted National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguia.

In Washington, DC, alone, more than 60 restaurants closed, with many more only offering a limited menu as owners scrambled to cover for the absence of their entire kitchen staff.

 

Other businesses shuttered for the day in solidarity, such as the Sweetgreen salad chain, which decided to close its 18 restaurants in the DC area.

Several famous chefs are also using their platform to publicly stand with immigrants. Prizewinning Phoenix chef Silvana Salcido Esparza, for example, announced that she was closing her three restaurants, telling USA Today: “You know what, my restaurants don’t function without immigrants.

“That starts in the field, people who pick our food, the processing plants, the slaughterhouse, I could go on.”

Students around the country also boycotted classes, with at least one school in Washington canceling classes in advance.

In Washington, federal contract workers also held a huge strike in Upper Senate Park to protest low wages and pay cuts. “Trump can’t break a promise to the working class and get away with it,” said Ben Jealous, former NAACP president and the founding chair of Good Jobs Defenders, the coalition of unions and advocacy groups behind the federal contract workers’ strike.

“Striking workers put Trump on notice in December after his election. This will be the first strike after Trump took the oath of office.”

Some places got creative with their protest. The Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, for example, shrouded or de-installed all works of art created by immigrants or donated to the museum by immigrants, to highlight the invaluable contributions of immigrants to American arts.

“We’ll see pockets of absence all over the museum,” the museum director told The Art Newspaper about the project starting on February 16 called “Art-less”. “The African art section is almost entirely lost to view.”