What You Need to Know About the 'Day Without Immigrants' Strike

February 16th 2017

Thor Benson

On Thursday, immigrants and businesses in cities like New York and Los Angeles are striking to protest President Donald Trump's immigration policies. It's called "A Day Without Immigrants," and the protest is sending a strong message. Thousands are participating in states across the country.

Many businesses, especially restaurants, are participating in the strike by closing for the day, or they are donating part of their profits to organizations fighting for immigrant rights. The event was not organized by one specific group but instead grew out of social media coordination. The popular Thai restaurant Pok Pok LA, for example, is raising money for the ACLU. Celebrity chef José Andrés, who owns restaurants in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Las Vegas, and elsewhere, is closing his restaurants for the day.

Immigrants are either staying home from work on Thursday, or they are marching in the streets to protest what they see as damaging immigration shifts.

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According to the New York Times, the strike has spread far enough that the Pentagon is actually warning employees that some of its food vendors were unable to operate on Thursday because of the strike. The Associated Press reports that a Senate coffee shop in Washington, D.C. also had to close.

Immigrants want to show Trump what the country would be like if they weren't there.

One of the factors that has given the strike so much energy is that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) rounded up hundreds of undocumented immigrants in nearly a dozen states last week. One of those arrested, 23-year-old Daniel Ramirez Medina, is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACE) recipient. DACA is a program that started under President Obama, which allows those brought to America illegally as minors to stay and work in the country, at least temporarily. Medina is now suing the government over his arrest.