‘Day without Immigrants’ hopes to highlight immigration concerns

A nationwide

A nationwide "Day without Immigrants" protest hopes to highlight immigration concerns. (2/15/17)

LONG BRANCH - Thousands of New Jersey residents may not show up to work Thursday as part of a national protest called “A Day without Immigrants.”

The event is meant to protest against some of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies such as extreme vetting of immigrants coming to the United States, building a wall on the Mexican border and deportations.

Organizers of the event in Long Branch say that over 150 businesses may close Thursday either in solidarity or out of necessity. Many believe that Broadway, Long Branch’s main thoroughfare, will be empty. 

“We can't guarantee 100 percent that people are going to agree with that,” says Luiciana Silva who is participating in the event. “We have to respect that, but we really believe 60 to 70 percent of Broadway will be closed.”

Many restaurants across the state are also expected to be closed. Marilou Halvorsen, president of the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association, says restaurants could see fewer workers.

“My restaurants are very supportive of their employees. Without them they wouldn't have a business,” she says. “I think it's important to recognize that this is not a protest against restaurants. It's a protest against the immigration order.”

Trump says his policies are designed to keep America safe, and many agree with him. But for some immigrants, the protest is about speaking up for respect and understanding by not showing up to work.

“I'll stay home. I'll drive by Broadway just to be proud of myself and proud of my community but that's it,” says Silva.

Protest rallies are also planned in several cities across the country.

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