Dozens of Twin Cities Restaurants Close for 'Day Without Immigrants'

Cheryl Sanders
February 17, 2017

An untold number of restaurants in and around the Twin Cities are staying closed Thursday as part of a "Day Without Immigrants," a nationwide expression of solidarity attempting to show how vital newcomers are to the US economy.

Signs are posted for customers of Blue Ribbon, a restaurant, stating that they are closed in solidarity with "A Day Without Immigrants" protests in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., February 16, 2017. Ideal will pay its employees during its closure. Advocates say immigrants often do work that other residents of the not want to do. As part of his immigration platform, Trump plans to effectively deputize local police to work with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which last week arrested almost 700 people in raids across the U.S.

That was the name given to protests denouncing the newly enacted immigration policies and raids in immigrant communities by the Trump administration. A Day Without Immigrants is among the first large-scale strikes in the wake of Trump's inauguration. The Washingtonian reports that restaurants in D.C. are preparing for "A Day Without Immigrants", a strike aimed as showing this community's economic power and protesting President Trump's immigration policies.

Eateries are not the only establishments taking part in today's nationwide boycott that aims to show the president that immigrants play a critical role in the US. "We felt that this was the best way to support that cause". Owner Otto Pahn said he's closing to acknowledge the day. "We're workers. We support our country", David Pena said. The aim of the protests is to show the contributions immigrants make in the country on a daily basis.

Companies from several industries are participating in the protest, but the effect may be sharpest in the restaurant industry. In Los Angeles, officials with the nation's second-largest school district urged students not to join in any walkouts or demonstrations on Thursday. "The least I could do was to say, 'OK, we stand by you'". Many restaurants are trying to figure out ways to continue operating Thursday without their immigrant-heavy staffs, and some vendors who rely on immigrant workers and drivers have warned restaurants to expect possible delivery delays.

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