By Manuel Arias
Yesterday, on 16 February, hundreds of Latino businesses—including restaurants, supermarkets, and others—closed their doors in support of a protest organized on social media.
The protest sought to send a clear message to the new presidential administration about the contribution of the Latino community to our national economy. It also looked to showcase the power of the community to come together against the anti-immigrant policies the federal government is imposing against the Latino community.
The call was for Latinos not to work or school and not to shop, and the result was overwhelming. The percentage of participation was higher than expected.
In San Jose, California, the shopping center “Placita Tropicana” closed its doors, and in San Francisco’s Latino district, The Mission, 80% of the businesses closed, according to local press. In Los Angeles, in the famous “callejones” that are predominantly Latino, the influx of shoppers decreased by approximately 60%, according to Telemundo.
But there were also many marches in cities and states across the U.S.: Washington DC, Chicago, North Carolina, Michigan, New York, Houston, Detroit, and Austin, among others.
Without a doubt, the response of the Latino community across the country was significant. And yet even greater unification will be necessary to strengthen the struggle against the anti-immigrant executive orders.
Just today, a group of Democratic congress members, among them Luis Gutiérrez and Norma Torres, were excluded from a meeting with ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan. The representatives had requested explanations about the latest deportation raids.
ICE has confirmed that they will continue the raids and deportations of undocumented immigrants.
DACA is also not exempt from danger; at an impromptu press conference, President Trump acknowledged that the DACA program is “a very, very difficult subject for me,” but that he will deal with the issue “with heart.” In fact, the first dreamer will be deported in the next few days, for allegedly belonging to a gang. The dreamer, Daniel Ramírez, maintains that is a lie and that he was pressured by ICE agents to admit it.