As workers strike and restaurants shutter Thursday in support of immigrants, organizers of Washington, D.C.’s “Day Without Immigrants” protest are demanding much more than an end to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
Stores and restaurants nationwide remained closed Thursday or sold only limited food and products to show support for immigrants and showcase how migrants are integral in the U.S. economy and everyday life.
And in the nation’s capital, strikers — which are “predominantly immigrant,” according to organizers — plan to march to the White House around noon following a morning gathering of food, music and information about immigrant rights.
A Facebook event page for the District protest included a litany of demands from those protesting — and it’s not just about Trump’s immigration policies or temporary travel ban.
The demands include:
- The removal of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers from Washington, D.C.;
- Local governments must make up for financial losses from federal funds stripped from so-called “sanctuary cities”;
- The immediate passage and funding of the Language Access for Education Amendment Act of 2015, which would increase the standards of language access of education and government series for all non-English proficient D.C. residents, according to Councilmember David Grosso at the time;
- The removal of the undocumented mark from D.C. driver’s licenses;
- Affirmation that Washington, D.C. will not support the creation of a Muslim registry or surveillance; and
- Cease “unchecked police violence committed against immigrants, including black people and all people of color.”
The protest demands also include protection for those who participate in Thursday’s event from termination from their jobs.
Protesters also rallied against Trump’s promise to crackdown on illegal immigration — including the promise of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, a temporary immigration ban from several Muslim-majority countries and the stripping of federal funds from sanctuary cities.
A spokesperson for the conservative research nonprofit America Rising Squared said Thursday that the full list of demands show that the protests aren’t so much about supporting immigrants as it is supporting illegal immigration.
“This absurd list of demands makes clear that the so-called ‘Day Without Immigrants’ is actually a far-left pro-illegal immigration effort — not standing up for workers,” Nathan Brand said in a statement.
More than 750 Facebook users RSVP’d that they would attend the event, and more than 1,200 said they were interested in the event.
Some D.C. schools closed Thursday due to the protest.