Day Without Immigrants a successful protest, more peaceful demonstrations necessary

March 07, 2017

Moriah Butler

mbutler3@uccs.edu

     Following President Donald Trump’s promises during his controversial campaign, like building a wall along the Mexican border, the nation’s immigrant population decided to show him just how much they contribute to America.

     With plans to deport millions of immigrants, there was an outcry.

     On Feb. 16, thousands of people participated in Day Without Immigrants, a protest that was composed of various business boycotts. From elementary schools to law firms, businesses across the country shut down as students and parents boycotted school and work.

     The Day Without Immigrants caused havoc throughout big cities like New York, Detroit and Atlanta as countless businesses shut down and thousands of people poured into the streets to demonstrate their role in the nation’s economy.

     While the protest sent a message to the rest of the world, its impact was not nearly as big as it could have been if more people participated.

     As you can imagine, everyone has a different opinion about the way protesters decided to stand up against discrimination.

     But this protest was necessary and well-performed.

     Immigrants mostly occupy the jobs that U.S. born professionals wouldn’t apply for. For example, undocumented immigrants are more likely to work construction jobs and are less likely to work jobs that are in professional, technical, scientific or management positions.

     If Trump were to follow through with the promises he made about “cracking down on immigration,” there is no telling what might happen to the food industry.

     According to Restaurants Opportunity Center United, immigrants make up the majority of the 12 million people working in the restaurant industry.

     Immigrants make up 12.1 percent of the country’s population and 17 percent of the workforce, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.

     Sadly, many adults who protested faced consequences when employers started firing people for not coming into work. Employers should be caring for their employees and support their right to protest, especially when their livelihood is at stake.

     But it seems the correct way to protest doesn’t exist.

     Even famous celebrities like Beyonce, who performed a Black Lives Matter themed show during the 2016 Superbowl halftime, and Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem, have been ridiculed for their choice in expression.

     It is important to realize that no matter the form of protest, there will always be a naysayer. To someone who isn’t part of the protests, it will never seem to be the right time or for the right reasons.

     But protesters should still try for their cause.

     Non-violent protests have the ability to portray a message stronger than breaking windows and burning cars. The immigrants who participated took matters into their own hands using non-violence and their voices.

     These protests gave a good idea of how much immigrants contribute to the country and its economy.

     If we try to imagine an America without immigrants, it is one where stores are shut, roads are not mended and restaurants cannot serve food.