WASHINGTON — Hundreds of immigrants and their families marched two miles to the White House on Thursday instead of going to work, shutting down more than 80 area restaurants to show what a day without them in the workforce looks like.
Similar demonstrations occurred in major cities around the country as the immigrant workers demanded that they not be subjected to police violence and that the Trump administration ease its tough policies aimed at undocumented workers. While some restaurants may not have had enough workers to open, many shut their doors to show solidarity with the protesters.
Andy Shallal, an immigrant himself, closed all of his Busboys and Poets locations. His restaurant tweeted, “Immigrants make America great!” Over 80 restaurants in DC either closed their doors or shrank their menu to limited fare on Thursday. Rappahannock Oyster Bar in NoMa stated it could not operate without its immigrant workers and that they “are the backbone of our businesses, and our beloved nation.”
The D.C. strikers wanted city officials to refuse any requests from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency for help in holding undocumented immigrants, to stop unchecked police violence committed against immigrants and to fund for a sanctuary program in D.C. They also were concerned about retribution at their jobs for participating in the Day Without Immigrants.
President Donald Trump was loudly criticized during the march for his “extreme vetting” policy and efforts to build a wall along the Mexican border.