Thursday, February 16, 2017

Even the Pentagon Gets Hit by a “Day Without Immigrants”

A nationwide February 16 walkout by immigrants had mixed results. The protesta response to the Trump administration’s ban on visits from seven majority-Muslim countries and to last week’s arrests of some 680 immigrant in sweeps around the U.S.was organized virtually overnight, mostly by personal contact and through social media; no national organization called for it. Some areas of the country seemed to be unaffected, and the nation didn’t grind to a halt. But the grassroots protests were quite effective in many places, closing various restaurants and grocery stores in a number of cities and nearly emptying some classrooms.

Even the Pentagon was affected: its employees had to do without the complex’s Sbarro, Starbucks, Coffee Cart, Taco Bell, Qdoba, Burger King and Freshens food concessions.

In New York City the protests included a decision to stay out by many workers at B & H Photo; the largely immigrant workforce at the company’s warehouses had voted to unionize in 2015. At the end of the day hundreds of immigrants and supporters joined a three-hour protest outside the ICE processing center in Lower Manhattan to demand freedom for detained DACA recipient Daniel Ramirez Medina. It was hard to estimate the crowd size: people streamed in and out of the protest area, where they had to endure a cold and windy evening. At any given time some 400 or 500 people were present, but the total number over the three hours was probably at least twice that. –TPOI editor.

Newark students protest. Photo: Christopher Occhicone/New York Times
U.S. Gets a Taste of Life Without Immigrants in Nationwide Protests
Businesses ground to a halt across the country as marchers and strikers opposed Trump’s crackdown.

By Roque Planas and Carolina Moreno, Huffington Post
February 16, 2017

AUSTIN ― Immigrants across the country stayed away from work, missed school or avoided making purchases on Thursday in support of a grassroots movement aiming to show the country what “a day without immigrants” looks like.

In an effort to combat President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown, restaurants and other businesses closed their doors in Chicago, Austin, San Francisco, Detroit, New York City, Washington D.C., Charlotte and other cities ― either in support of the immigrant community or because too few employees turned up to work.[...]

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On a ‘Day Without Immigrants,’ Workers Show Their Presence by Staying Home 
“It’s like the Arab Spring,” said Manuel Castro, the executive director of NICE, short for New Immigrant Community Empowerment

By Liz Robbins and Annie Correal, New York Times
February 16, 2017

It first spread on social media, rippling through immigrant communities like the opposite of fear and rumor: a call to boycott. In the New York region and around the country, many cooks, carpenters, plumbers and grocery store owners decided to answer it and not work on Thursday as part of a national “day without immigrants” in protest of the Trump administration’s policies toward them.

The protest called for immigrants, whether naturalized citizens or undocumented, to stay home from work or school, close their businesses and abstain from shopping. People planned for it in restaurant staff meetings, on construction sites and on commuter buses, but the movement spread mostly on Facebook and via WhatsApp, the messaging service. No national group organized the action.[…]

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