COLUMBUS (WCMH/AP) – Immigrants around the U.S. stayed home from work and school Thursday to demonstrate how important they are to America’s economy, and many businesses closed in solidarity, in a nationwide protest called A Day Without Immigrants.
The boycott was aimed squarely at President Donald Trump’s efforts to step up deportations, build a wall at the Mexican border and close the nation’s doors to many travelers. Organizers said they expected thousands to participate or otherwise show support.
In Columbus, a number of businesses closed for the day, including La Michoacana.
Cristal Gallsoso said she had siblings out of school, and she even closed her beauty shop.
“To me I really don’t care if I lose 500 or 600 dollars today why because I know I’m making a big difference,” said Gallsoso.
She said she is doing this for her Hispanic family around the nation, and that this nation is her home.
“I feel like Hispanics are a big part of the community,” she said.
Alicia Galvin said here in Columbus she is doing what everyone else is doing, trying to live her life.
“We’re here like everyone else, trying to make a living,” she said.
The protest even reached into the U.S. Capitol, where a Senate coffee shop was among the eateries that were closed as employees did not show up at work.
Organizers appealed to immigrants from all walks of life to take part, but the effects were felt most strongly in the restaurant industry, which has long been a first step up the economic ladder for newcomers to America with its many jobs for cooks, dishwashers and servers. Restaurant owners with immigrant roots of their own were among those acting in solidarity with workers.