On a ‘Day Without Immigrants,’ Workers Show Their Presence by Staying Home
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 carpenters, plumbers, cooks, cleaners 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 to stay home from work or school, close their businesses and abstain from shopping. People talked about it in restaurant staff meetings, on construction sites and on commuter buses, but the movement spread mostly on Facebook and via text message through WhatsApp.
“It’s like the Arab Spring,” said Manuel Castro, the executive director of NICE, the New Immigrant Community Empowerment, which works primarily with Hispanic immigrant day laborers in Jackson Heights, Queens. “Our members were coming to us, asking what the plan was. Frankly, it kind of came out of nowhere.”