A day without immigrants hurts America
A Hispanic woman working as a maintenance employee for a local mall expressed concern about Thursday’s “A Day Without Immigrants” strike that highlights the labor impact of Latino workers.
“I’m not coming to work,” she said. “The question is whether I will have a job after taking off. But I’m going to do this, I have to.”
The woman asked for anonymity knowing that she could suffer employment ramifications about her actions.
This “Una Día Sin Immagrantes” protests ramped efforts to deport undocumented residents.
Participation includes risk and potentially no reward except for building solidarity in severe uncertain times.
ICE raids on undocumented U.S. residents appear regularly on news broadcasts and in daily publications.
Some undocumented people, already living shadowed lives, have retreated into darkness even further, fearing that visibility could mean arrest.
Protest organizers have asked Latino immigrants not to go to work, open businesses, shop, eat in restaurants, buy gas, go to classes, or send children to school.
The message alerts President Donald Trump that without Latinos, undocumented or with papers, the U.S. economic engine moves slowly.
In Milwaukee, thousands marched against deportation Monday as about 150 businesses closed in support for this initiative.
NBC reported that “Trump wants to paint immigrants as something we should be afraid of; that it is something bad,” Christine Neumann-Ortiz, the director of Voces de la Frontera said. “When people do this general, wide strike what they show is that on the contrary immigrants are lifting up this economy and when they withhold their contributions we see a decline.”
The peaceful pushback connects with efforts launched by Cesar Chavez, an American labor leader and civil rights activist who, with Dolores Huerta, cofounded the National Farm Workers Association in 1962.
Chavez morphed from Mexican American farm worker to a civil rights icon as he represented and unionized 50,000 farm field workers.
The Chavez effort mirrored a black civil rights movement masterminded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who implemented nonviolent strikes to impact a sanitation workers protest in Memphis, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama and a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina.
An estimated 11 million undocumented residents dwell in the U.S. and Trump has promised immediate deportation for an alleged two million who have criminal records.
The Trump extended immigration plan hopes to deport all undocumented immigrants, plus, securing via a wall, the Mexico-U.S. border.
This immigrant action includes significant support from many business owners who pledged no retaliation against immigrants who do not report to work.
The “A Day Without Immigrants” effort intends to build grassroots alliances that promote solutions to immigration issues, including amnesty and a pathway to citizenship.
The immigrant activism occurs one day before a proposed national protest against Trump.
The Feb. 17 action encourages people to call out from work and to spend no money.
This protest supports no Muslim travel ban, universal healthcare, an end to several pipeline projects and several other Trump roll outs.
Critics of January’s Women’s March on Washington, D.C. predict most protesters will grow silent.
Immigrants and supporters should heed Dr. King’s message about perseverance. The night before his assassination in April 1968, King addressed sanitation workers in Memphis.
“We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through,” King preached.
Fartun Sengow, from Somalia, now living in Concord, N,H., holds a sign during a rally for immigrants and refugees at the State House in 2012.