News of President Trump’s tightened deportation plan together with the forty ICE arrests made in NYC last week and the earlier executive order restricting the entry of immigrants into the country has created an atmosphere of fear across the service industry. According to a national study by the Pew Research Center in 2009, 12% of the restaurant industry’s workforce are undocumented. The industry is notorious for paying near-poverty wages. And the increasingly hateful rhetoric surrounding immigrants, legal or not, is likely to restrict restaurant workers from fighting for better conditions.
Uniting under #adaywithoutimmigrants, businesses across the nation remained closed today in powerful defiance of Trump’s crackdown on immigration. The protesters, enraged that Immigration and Customs officials reportedly arrested 680 immigrants last week, have been urging immigrant workers to stay home from work and school, and refrain from buying anything. The idea is to highlight how integral immigrants are to the backbone of the country by stalling economic contribution for one day. Close on the heels of Washington D.C., which became the epicenter of the strike/boycott, dozens of businesses across NYC will remain closed today. Most are, fittingly, restaurants– an industry largely dependent on immigrant employees.