Hispanic businesses closing Thursday for 'A Day Without Immigrants' protest

Businesses plan to close Thursday for the day

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Organizers are calling on immigrant workers and families in cities across the country to miss class, miss work and not patronize businesses Thursday to demonstrate the impact of immigrants on communities.

The "Day Without Immigrants" action is in response to President Donald Trump's administration.

"It's going to hurt a lot of businesses and especially the economy," says Antonio Acuna, owner of Fruittilandia in Austin, Texas. "But it's for a good cause."

He, along with multiple other local businesses, will be purposely staying home and skipping work on Thursday.

Acuna is willingly giving up a day's profits to participate in "Un Dia Sin Immigrantes," or "A Day Without Immigrants."

The movement, Acuna said, is meant to show the entire community how large and involved the Hispanic population is.

"Grocery stores, meat markets, doctors, lawyers -  every single business is hurt," He said. "We hope, I hope, that by doing this they see that we are important to this community. Not only our presence but our economic presence as well."

Paul Castillo, the manager at Taqueria Arandinas off N. Lamar, is also participating in the movement. He said it's also about showing solidarity for the Hispanic community.

"We're losing money," Castillo said, "But we don't want to lose our customers, or our employees. Hispanic people, Mexican people, people from South America, we've know them for all these years and now we see them out to the streets and they're scared. They feel persecuted, you know?"

The movement doesn't only call for businesses to close down on Feb. 16, it also calls for all immigrants to stay home, not spend money online or in stores, close their businesses and not attend school or classes.

While an official rally has not been planned in the Austin area, a similar movement in Milwaukee earlier this week did result in a large protest.

No matter the outcome, Castillo and Acuna said the most important thing is to show their community and families that they aren't alone.

"We just want to let them know that we are with them," Castillo said. 

"I consider every single Hispanic as part of my family," Acuna said. "I support them 100 percent, and that's the reason we're closing on Thursday."

Trump has vowed to increase deportation of immigrants living in the country illegally and ban people from certain majority-Muslim countries from coming into the U.S.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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