As Donald Trump spent his 28th day in office “ranting and raving” about the news media and trying to deflect any criticism of his now-disgraced national security advisor Michael Flynn, immigrants across the country were dealing with more immediate threats — the possibly years-long crackdown on immigrant communities that Trump has already kicked off with his “public safety” executive order. So on the heels of the highly successful “bodega strike” by Yemeni business owners in New York City earlier this month, immigrants across the country are observing a “day without an immigrant,” where some immigrant-run businesses across the nation are shutting down to protest President Trump’s attack on their community.
“This is the first time we have closed our doors in our entire 10 year history, but we feel it is important to take a stand against the Trump Administration’s racist and anti-immigration policies,” wrote Scottie Lopez, the owner of three separate Cafe Con Pan bakeries in Staten Island, wrote on his businesses’ Facbook account, as first reported by NBC.
Cities across the country are also participating in the strike, including El Paso, Santa Fe, Chicago, and Philadelphia.
Make The Road’s Daniel Altschuler tweeted out several photos from Staten Island this morning, showing entire immigrant business districts shut down in observance of the strike.
— Daniel Altschuler (@altochulo) February 16, 2017
In the Bronx, immigrant workers at the Hunts Point Terminal Market, which supplies fresh food to much of New York City’s supermarkets and restaurants, observed the strike as well, rallying outside the market in the predawn hours chanting, “Respect, respect.” A video taken by Christian Ponce, a worker at Hunts Point, shows the always bustling food market, the largest in the world, nearly deserted.
The “Day Without An Immigrant” strike comes more than ten years after the country’s last coordinated strikes by immigrant businesses, when millions struck across the country on May 1st, 2006 in response to the Bush administration stance on immigrants. As Alexandria Neason wrote in this week’s Voice cover story, several other strikes are planned to confront the Trump administration’s agenda, including a Women’s Strike on March 8th, and a labor strike on May 1st.