Mass employees refuse to work on Day Without Immigrants

- A Houston restaurant couldn’t open for business today because too many workers stayed home protesting on this national Day Without Immigrants.  In Southeast Houston dozens gathered for an immigration rights rally, wrapping up this day uniting after spending it away from work, attempting to send a strong message.

A Day Without Immigrants hasn’t been very productive or profitable for the Torchy’s Tacos on Shepherd. Customers continue coming, but they arrive finding the door locked and a temporarily closed sign posted.

"I wanted my tacos but definitely they’re doing a good thing and it’s a good cause,” says Logan who was attempting to have Torchy’s for breakfast.  The manager confirms more than 30 employees didn’t come to work.  We also found only the drive-thru open at McDonald’s on Katy Freeway at Mason Road.  According to the sign the lobby is closed due to A Day Without Immigrants.

"We’re all immigrants. We all came from somewhere else.  Everybody should have the right to live here in America,” adds Logan.

“It’s kind of unfortunate what’s going on in the country today and how we treat immigrants when that’s what this country has been founded on,” explains Jake who was trying to have Torchy’s for lunch. 

“Mr. Trump is making them feel unwelcome and he’s making everybody feel like a terrorist.  I feel he should handle things a different way,” says another Torchy’s customer. 

A Day Without Immigrants is in protest of the President’s position on immigration reform.

"Just as a matter of saying hey we’re here.  Pay attention to us,” explains Cesar Espinosa Executive Director of Familias Immigrantes y Estudiantes en la Lucha (Immigrant Families and Students in the Struggle).

With workers refusing to go in, causing companies to close, it’s hard not to notice.  “We hope to highlight the economic impact that immigrants have in cities like Houston and all around the country,” Espinosa adds. 

“I hope they can see we can not live without those people that we don’t want in the country,” says middle school teacher Marisol Flores, who did not go in to work on this day. 

Flores has been in the U.S. since she was 14 years old and now fears being deported.  “I’m very concerned because I’m the one that supports my family.  I’m the one that works.  My mom is sick so I provide everything,” explains Flores.

On this Day Without Immigrants Houston Chef Benjy Mason is launching the Dining For Democracy campaign in support of immigration rights.  He’s asking restaurants and bars beginning on March 8, 2017 to donate 15 percent of their proceeds to ACLU.  A dozen Houston restaurants have agreed so far.

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