'Day Without Immigrants' protest closes many US restaurants
The heart of Philadelphia's Italian Market was uncommonly quiet. Fine restaurants in the nation's capital and New York closed for the day. Grocery stores, food trucks and taco joints in places like Chicago and Boston shut down.
Immigrants around the US stayed home from work and school yesterday to demonstrate how important they are to America's economy and its way of life, and many businesses closed in solidarity in a nationwide protest called 'A Day Without Immigrants'.
The boycott was aimed squarely at President Donald Trump's efforts to crack down on immigration, legal and illegal. Organisers said they expected thousands to participate or otherwise show their support.
The protest even reached into the US Capitol, where a Senate coffee shop was among the eateries that were closed as employees did not show up at work.
Marcela Ardaya-Vargas, who is from Bolivia and now lives in Falls Church, Virginia, pulled her son out of school to take him to a Day Without Immigrants march in Washington.
"When he asked why he wasn't going to school, I told him because today he was going to learn about immigration," she said, adding: "Our job as citizens is to unite with our brothers and sisters."
Organisers appealed to immigrants from all walks of life to take part, but the effects were felt most strongly in the restaurant industry, which has long been a first step up the economic ladder for newcomers to America with its many jobs for cooks, dishwashers and servers. Expensive restaurants and fast-food joints alike closed across the US.