Across the United States on Thursday, thousands of immigrants skipped work and class to participate in A Day Without Immigrants.
Activists say the purpose of the walkout was to show how important immigrants are to American society; census data says that more than 40 million people in the U.S., or about 13 percent of the population, are foreign born. Restaurants, shops, and other small businesses were closed in major cities like Minneapolis, Boston, and D.C., where more than 50 restaurants were shuttered for the day. A Defense Department spokesman told Reuters that at the Pentagon, a Starbucks, a Taco Bell, a Burger King, and other fast food restaurants were closed because employees were out protesting.
There were also demonstrations in Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, and other cities, with many participants lambasting President Trump's immigration policies. "Most people who come to America are just working," Fernando Garcia, the U.S.-born owner of a Chicago-area solar fan business, told Reuters. He closed his business down in support of the protests, and said the government "can deport the criminals, but that's a very small portion of people who come here."