A day without immigrants
BY: SOhkna fall, 19
On February 16th, in cities around America, thousands of construction companies, restaurants, and other businesses braced for “A Day Without Immigrants.” It was a combination of boycott and strike to highlight the immense contributions of immigrants throughout history and at present towards U.S commerce and culture. As part of the protest, immigrants across America refrained from school and work, hoping to show American consumers what an economy without immigrant labor would mean for the services and goods they rely so highly upon.
The entirety of the movement was a direct, impulsive reaction towards the racist and prejudiced immigration agenda of President Trump. This includes his pledge to seal the U.S. border with Mexico, as well as his recently enforced executive travel ban on the citizens of seven majorly Muslim countries. This isn’t the first circumstance in which immigrants felt the need to abstain from buying, selling, working, and attending school, in order to attempt to demonstrate the extent of which they are needed. As commonly known, history repeats itself, and this incident is a mere continuation of the Great American Boycott of May 2006. Over a decade later, immigration reform has only gotten progressively worse with the election of a president that has no true understanding of the substantial role immigrants play in the structure of the American nation.
Many employers, including restaurant and business owners in over 10 major U.S. cities, actually showed support for their workers participating in the walkout, handfuls of them even printed messages of solidarity on customers receipts! Nevertheless, there will always be those that disapprove of protesters. CNN reported that a number of protest participants were deliberately fired on A Day Without Immigrants for taking part in the public outcry with the defense that it was the ‘company policy for no-shows’. Trump’s backward political agenda has brought out the discriminative nature in even the best of people.
The various events commemorating the Day Without Immigrants underscore a key reality about the United States: we are a nation dependant on immigrants, even the undocumented ones. Immigrants, not to mention the many native-born Americans who believe in immigrant rights, are not an insignificant or passive group of people. If Trump persists in his campaign to ramp up deportations and demonize immigrants, he will meet sustained resistance. In other words, to declare war on immigrants is to declare war on the nation’s economy as well. Every day, more immigrants are being plucked from U.S. society and expelled from the country. Some are criminals, but many are not. Sadly, to those in the White House who orchestrate this policy, that doesn’t seem to matter.
The Day Without Immigrants draws attention to the fact that many businesses would grind to a halt without the patronage not to mention the labor of immigrants. Unfortunately, the power of this event is running headlong into the intransigence of a president who is intent upon creating his own “day without immigrants.”
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