Immigrant workers, families plan protest strike Thursday

Posted February 15
Updated February 16

— Organizers in cities across the U.S. are telling immigrants to miss class, miss work and not shop on Thursday as a way to show the country how important they are to America's economy and way of life.

Raleigh community activist David Salazar went door to door Wednesday asking businesses to stay closed in support of "One Day Without Immigrants."

Salazar says more than 30 local businesses are committed to support the call to oppose the President Donald Trump's pledges to increase deportation of immigrants living in the country illegally, build a wall along the Mexican border, and ban people from certain majority-Muslim countries from coming into the U.S.

"People are excited," Salazar said. "People have already made a decision that they are not working tomorrow. Personally, where I work, a lot of guys say they are not going to work tomorrow."

Eligio Pena, general manager of Compare Foods, a chain of grocers with 15 stores across North Carolina, said his stores would be closed.

"We decided to close the stores for one day to please the customers that were asking for it," he said. "We going to be hurt a little bit, but I hope people come back in the next few days and spend the same amount."

Salazar hopes the day off gets the attention of state and local elected officials, where immigrants play a substantial role in the economy. Legal and undocumented immigrants combined make up more than 10 percent of North Carolina's workforce.

"We love this country, we want to be here, but we also need to let them know that our economy counts," Salazar said.

One Day Without Immigrants

He said a gathering was planned for Moore Square at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday. Other actions are planned in cities including Philadelphia, Washington, Boston and Austin, Texas.

Employers and institutions in some cities were already expressing solidarity Wednesday with immigrant workers. Washington restaurateur John Andrade said he would close his businesses Thursday, and David Suro, owner of Tequilas Restaurant in Philadelphia and a Mexican immigrant, said he also planned to participate.

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.

Organizers in Philadelphia said they expect hundreds of workers and families to participate.

"Our goal is to highlight the need for Philadelphia to expand policies that stop criminalizing communities of color," said Erika Almiron, executive director of Juntos, a nonprofit group that works with the Latino immigrant community. "What would happen if massive raids did happen? What would the city look like?"

Almiron said that while community groups have not seen an uptick in immigration raids in the city, residents are concerned about the possibility.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is among leaders in several cities nationwide who have vowed to maintain their "sanctuary city" status and decline to help federal law enforcement with deportation efforts.

Many people who make the choice to skip work Thursday will not be paid in their absence, but social media posts encouraging participation stressed that the cause is worth the sacrifice.


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  • Star Bolt Feb 16, 2017
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    Mainstream media intentionally confuses the difference between legal and illegal immigrants, so we don't know which this article is referring to. Further, closing your business in protest only hurts you and your employees, whom I'm sure didn't get a paid day off. Either way, if someone is in this country illegally, they have to go. That's the law.

  • Juan Monroy Feb 16, 2017
    user avatar

    Gary has said the most sensible things, Not everyone can afford those processes it's easy to say but you have to see to know it's not only criminals that are being picked up its anyone they come across your just watching what you see on TV not knowing the real stories behind it all...

  • John Johnson Feb 16, 2017
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    CHOICES: Immigrants Are Honest People who Took the Legal Route, IE: All Countries have Embassies (Background Check, Finger Printed, I.D'd, Pays Taxes, Etc), to be Accepted into a Country. ?Undocuments / Illegals are Criminals, Who Smuggled into the Country, That Have Something to Hide !!

  • Mark Hayes Feb 16, 2017
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    There is no end to all of this, it is more of an infestation than immigration, we have immgrants from all over the world who have came to this country by legally applying. Those who need to be protesting are the millions who have been subjected to the longevity of the process, and are now as citizens. This birther right has been abused and now is starting to show it's true colors, they wave the Mexican flag.

  • Matthew Rose Feb 16, 2017
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    This is a day without illegal immigrants. My wife and child came here legally and there is no threat or worry about ICE coming to the house and taking them back. Do it right and there is nothing to worry about. Break the law, and it is a law, and you should live in fear.

  • Ed Smail Feb 16, 2017
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    The Horror! What about taco thursday! This is America, why is that Mexican flag waving. That is not assimilation, that is Mexican nationalism. So, liberals do not want a secure border? Convicted illegal alien felons deported? Or a terrorist threat vetted before entering our Country?

  • Thomas Williams Feb 16, 2017
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    Two types of immigrants, legal, and illegal. There is something about that world illegal. If someone is willing to come here legally and wants to work and contribute, they are welcome. If someone wants to come here illegally and take out of the system without putting in, which means the effort to become legal, that is a different story. We have lost the meaning of the word illegal in this country, and it not only applies to immigration but many other aspects of American life. Somehow illegal has come to mean very little to a lot of people.

  • Angus Young Feb 16, 2017
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    and a bouncer too.....

  • Eric Rothman Feb 16, 2017
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    No one has a problem with immigration (well, mostly no one). It's ILLEGAL immigration that is The problem. They always want to confuse the two. Let's have all the criminals in jail have a protest and talk about how many police officers would be out a job if they didn't commit crimes and say it's good for America. I can't drive over the speed limit because it's th

  • Gary Thompson Feb 16, 2017
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    Ok i know the back ladh is coming for this but this is my opinion. First off im full republican and a trump voter so dont throw the liberal card at me. As far as illegals go in the work force i drive a dump truck and we deal mostly with construction so thats what i see. They are doing the jobs no one else wants for the same pay because we think we should make more but the companies cant offord to pay it. Hell some of them are making more than me or you at our jobs. Ive the pay stubs so i know. Lastly if they can prove that theyve been here ten or more years and stayed out of trouble leave em alone. They just want a better life like our ancestors did when they came here. And i promise you my ancestors and yours too didnt ask the amirican indians for permission so stop whinning about it and geow the hell up people.