Today, Americans across the country will go to their favorite restaurants, bodegas, corner stores, and other common businesses to find them shuttered for the day. Today is #ADayWithoutImmigrants, where immigrant workers in hundreds of cities walk off the job in order to show America what life would be like without them.
Protesters took to the streets in their thousands to march for immigrant rights and against Donald Trump’s xenophobic immigration policies. Restaurant and business owners in major cities stood in solidarity with their workers and closed their doors to remind people just how reliant our economy is on immigrant workers.
— HuffingtonPost Maroc (@HuffPost_Maroc) February 16, 2017
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 26.3 million foreign-born people working in the U.S. in 2015, making up 16.7% of the workforce and contributed $106.9 billion in taxes. Immigrant workers, in general, make far less than their native counterparts. The restaurant industry in the United States could not function as it does without grossly underpaying migrant labor.
This strike is meant to show just how important immigrants are to the American economy and how economically foolish Trump’s plan to close our borders and to hunt down illegal immigrants really is.
Trump’s promised deportation raids are already becoming a reality. Hundreds have been arrested asICE police go door-to-door demanding to see their papers, tearing families apart and sending innocent people back to the lands they tried to escape.
Trump’s fearmongering about Muslim immigrants coming to kill you and Mexican immigrants coming to take your jobs is nothing but ethnonationalist scapegoating entirely divorced from reality.
#ADayWithoutImmigrants is a vital show of solidarity for the immigrants that truly make this country great. Find out how you can support the movement in your city.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.