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Austin Businesses Plan 'Day Without Immigrants' Strike

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon
A sign on the door of Hay Elotes on East 7th Street says the restaurant will be closed Thursday.

Your favorite Austin businesses could be closed Thursday as part of a national grassroots strike to highlight the impact immigrants have in the country on a daily basis.  

Known as "Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes" (A Day Without Immigrants), the protest is in response to President Trump’s immigration policies, the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement crackdown and plans for a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

Sweet Sweet Co. co-founder Amir Bahari, who is the grandson of Iranian and Mexican immigrants, said that although the strike is just for one day, he hopes his participation gets people's attention.

“This is definitely a multidimensional problem and honestly, you know what?” he said. “We need to start talking about all these problems we have as a society.”

Otto Phan, the owner of Kyoten Sushiko, said he’s closing his restaurant in support of his Mexican mentors.

“I first learned sushi from the Mexican immigrant community here in Austin,” he said. “Without them I wouldn’t be a sushi chef of the caliber that I am today.”

At least 15 restaurants have signs on their doors stating that they are taking part in the strike, which was organized through social media and word of mouth.

Dozens of businesses shut their doors in Milwaukee on Monday in a similar protest called "A Day Without Latinos." According to Wisconsin Public Radio, thousands of people marched to the courthouse to rally against the sheriff’s plan to crack down on illegal immigration.

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