Queens restaurants shut their doors today as part of nationwide ‘Day Without Immigrants’

A sign in the window of Bamboo Tropical Restaurant in Ridgewood on Thursday, Feb. 16.
Photo via Instagram/Ridgewood Social

Hoping to send a message to the Trump administration, a number of Queens businesses are participating in the nationwide “A Day Without Immigrants” movement today to protest the president’s immigration policies and rhetoric.

The protest organized largely through social media encourages “undocumented, residents, citizens … from around the world” not to report to work or school, shop, eat at a restaurant or even shop on Feb. 16 to demonstrate that the nation’s economic well-being is dependent upon immigrant labor.

From promising to build a wall on the Mexican border to signing a since-overruled executive order preventing people from certain Middle Eastern nations from entering the United States, President Donald Trump has engaged in a number of efforts to curtail immigration. His administration has also stepped up efforts to expel undocumented immigrants from the nation entirely.

Among the Queens businesses participating in the movement is the 51st Bakery and Cafe on Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City and Two Lizards Mexican Bar & Grill on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria. Both shops posted to Instagram pictures of fliers on their doors announcing their closure and their solidarity with immigrants. The Arepa Lady, which has a cart and a brick-and-mortar restaurant on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, is also closed, according to a tweet.

Bamboo Tropical Restaurant on 71st Avenue in Ridgewood also closed its doors today. In a notice posted on Ridgewood Social‘s Instagram account, the restaurant’s management quoted Benjamin Franklin in stating that “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority.”

“We kindly ask you to join this movement; don’t work or make any purchase [sic] online,” the notice read. “Let’s show that immigrants do have an impact.”

The general strike wasn’t limited to just restaurants, as other businesses with immigrant workers also shut down. They included El Molino Supermarket on Roosevelt Avenue in Corona. A sign in Spanish on the metal roll-down gate informed customers that the store was closed on Feb. 16 to support the Latino community. The New York Times reported that numerous workers for Queens-based construction firms also opted not to work today in solidarity with the movement.

A Day Without Immigrants is one of a host of protests across the country that have occurred since President Trump took office on Jan. 20. A general strike and protest is planned for tomorrow in Washington Square Park in Manhattan; there is also an upcoming Unity March at MacDonald Park in Forest Hills on Feb. 26.

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