Today, Feb 16, immigrants in D.C. and throughout the nation will protest Donald Trump’s immigration policies with a coordinated strike. Fueled by a word-of-mouth campaign, immigrants will take off work, abstain from school, and refrain from shopping. Instead, they’ll march through D.C. to remind the new regime that immigrants aren’t just important, they’re crucial for the continued health of this nation.
On Tuesday, The Washingtonian reported that some eateries would be limiting their hours or closing up shop completely to show solidarity with anyone leaving work to protest. Several restaurant owners made it clear that if customers were upset, they would have to understand that this is what happens when the immigrant population is threatened by the government. D.C. (and the rest of the country) can’t run without immigrants and the protest hopes to show that. While some restaurant operators say that they’ll be unaffected, others have decided to stand with their employees in solidarity.
On Wednesday, Many D.C. restaurants announced an intent to close in advance — including BusBoys and Poets (which recently grabbed headlines when a Trump supporter tipped his African-American waitress hundreds of dollars in a show of unity). All of famed chef Jose Andres’ DC-area restaurants will be closing — Zaytinya, Oyamel in the city, and all locations of Jaleo, including those in Maryland and Virginia.
“Immigrants feed America,” Andres tweeted.
Andres’ choice to close his restaurant and stand in solidarity is especially poignant, considering the fact the he was once slated to open a restaurant in Trump Hotel in D.C. Instead, after Trump referred to Mexicans as rapists while campaigning, Andres pulled out of the deal. He appeared on Anderson Cooper yesterday to discuss the $10 million dollar suit that Trump hit him with when he chose to cut ties as well as the $8 million countersuit Andres brought against the Trump in retaliation.
In his suit, Andres, who is an immigrant himself, stated that he believes that all humans deserve respect, regardless of their immigration status.
Andrés tells Cooper the litigation took him by surprise, noting that Trump called him in June 2015 in an attempt to assuage his worries: “He said, ‘Jose we’re winning,'” the chef recounted. Andrés, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton, replied: “Mr. Trump, I’m not running on your ticket. I only want to run a successful restaurant and you’re making it really difficult.”
“I did what I had to do,” Andres said when asked about why he pulled out. And he’s doing it again by standing firm with his immigrant workers.