L.A. restaurants hold 'A Day Without Immigrants' protest

Updated 2017-02-17 15:31:03 Xinhua
People holding postcards participate in a protest to demonstrate how important immigrants are to America's economy on the Day Without Immigrants at Union Park of Chicago, the United States, Feb. 16, 2017.(Xinhua/Wang Ping)

People holding postcards participate in a protest to demonstrate how important immigrants are to America's economy on the Day Without Immigrants at Union Park of Chicago, the United States, Feb. 16, 2017.(Xinhua/Wang Ping)

"I believe immigrants are crucial to America," Lee, the owner of a Taiwan restaurant in Los Angeles, California, told Xinhua.

Hundreds of restaurants, shops, local businesses and schools participated in a nationwide strike on Thursday to protest President Donald Trump's policies on immigration.

"We closed for half a day to support the 'A Day Without Immigrants' event, since most of my restaurants' helpers are Hispanic immigrants," said Lee. "If they would like to be off for the whole day, I am okay with it and will pay them as usual."

"A Day Without Immigrants" supporters aim to make people all over the country realize how much immigrants have contributed to the United States and how their life would be like if there were no immigrants.

The protests are against Trump's crackdown on undocumented immigrants, plans to build a border wall between the country and Mexico, plans to strip federal funding from sanctuary cities, as well as his court-suspended executive order temporarily barring U.S. entry to global refugees and immigrants from seven Mid East and North African countries, said organizers.

A Korean BBQ restaurant named Sam Woo with thousands of reviews on Yelp.com put a closing notice on its window, saying: "Dear Valued Guest, we are closing on Thursday, February 16, in support of the A Day Without Immigrants protest. As a restaurant founded by immigrants, we value the contributions of immigrants to America."

Jose Andres, a renowned chef and entrepreneur from Spain, posted on Twitter one day before the striking event, saying: "In support of our people & a day without immigrants, we will not open 2/16."

Andres estimated the shutdown would make him lose a 100,000 U.S. dollars. However, he thought it was an opportunity that people's voice can be heard.

Some small restaurants chose not to close, but supported the event in different ways.

A Twitter user named Paolo Lucchesi, posted his receipt of Zuni Cafe in San Francisco, on which is written "IMMIGRANTS MAKE AMERICA GREAT."

The latest statistics released by the U.S. Labor Department showed that 7.1 million immigrants worked in the catering industry by 2015.

Data released by Pew research center show that 1.1 million undocumented immigrants worked in the catering industry.

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