Around the nation, some shops and restaurants closed in solidarity others braced for a possible shutdown for lack of enough employees Thursday as a "Day Without Immigrants" unfolded to underscore how much immigrants form the lifeblood of the country's economy and social structure.
Immigrants in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and other major U.S. cities planned to stay home from work and school as part of a strike. Demonstrators also planned a march to the White House at noon.
Coming on the heels of roundups of undocumented immigrants nationwide, organizers urge legal residents as well as undocumented ones to participate in the boycott in response to President Trump's crackdown on immigration, which includes plans to build a border wall and a temporary immigration ban on nationals from certain Muslim-majority nations.
Sign posted on door at Zavino at 13th and Sansom. Restaurant will be closed today for 'Day without Immigrants'. pic.twitter.com/VpuPQIXpRW— Katherine Scott (@KScott6abc) February 16, 2017
"From doctors to dishwashers, immigrants are integral to daily life in the U.S.," tweeted Janet Murguia, president and CEO of National Council of La Raza, as she praised Spanish-American Chef Jose Andrés' decision to close his Washington, D.C., restaurants Thursday. David Suro, owner of Tequilas Restaurant in Philadelphia and a Mexican immigrant, said he also planned to participate.
The celebrity chef said he decided to close after a few hundred of his employees told him they weren’t coming to work Thursday. They asked for his support and got it.
“We are all one," he said. "We should not be fighting among each other, we should all be working together to keep moving the country forward."
Andrés faces a lawsuit against Trump after pulling out of a restaurant deal at Trump's new Washington, D.C., hotel over offensive comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants.
Busboys & Poets and more than a dozen other restaurants in the nation's capital announced closings.
The Sweetgreen salad chain closed 18 stores in the Washington area in support of the demonstration. "Our team members are the face of the brand, from the front lines to our kitchen -- they're the backbone of this compnay and what makes Sweetgreen special," said co-founders Nicoilas and Nathaniel Jonathan. "And that's why we stand with them, today and every day."
Elsewhere in the country:
— The Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts said it would remove or shroud all artwork created or given by immigrants to the museum through Feb. 21.
— In New Mexico, the state with the largest percentage of Hispanic residents in the nation, school officials worried that hundreds of students may stay home on Thursday. “We respectfully ask all parents to acknowledge that students need to be in class every day to benefit from the education they are guaranteed and to avoid falling behind in school and life,” principals with the Albuquerque Public Schools wrote in a letter to parents. Students who take part in the protest will receive an unexcused absence, Albuquerque school officials said.
— In Phoenix, acclaimed chef Silvana Salcido Esparza said she will close three of her Phoenix restaurants for the day: Barrio Cafe, Barrio Urbano and Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva.
"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," she said Wednesday, hours after she was named a James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef — Southwest for the fifth time.
The Trump administration, less than a month in, has implemented policies that advocates call anti-immigrant. The first series of changes included executive actions to build the U.S.-Mexico wall, boost patrol agents to curb illegal immigration and strip federal funding from sanctuary cities that limit cooperation with immigration agents.
Days later, Trump signed a sweeping order that temporarily banned people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days and indefinitely barred Syrians from the country, though an appeals court order temporarily blocked the order. That order has been temporarily suspended while an appeals court weighs whether it will lift the ban.