At least 2 Twin Cities restaurants will close for 'A Day Without Immigrants' boycott

Immigrant workers and businesses across the country are expected to strike on Thursday.
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At least two Mexican restaurants in the Twin Cities have announced they will be joining the thousands of people across the country who are taking part in the "A Day Without Immigrants" protest Thursday.

Momentum is gathering for the one-day boycott by immigrant workers and businesses, with Fusion reporting many from Latino communities in particular are likely to take part in the strike. It's in opposition to the immigration agenda laid out by President Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

And on Tuesday, prominent St. Paul Mexican restaurant and marketplace El Burrito Mercado announced that it would be closed on Thursday, following a "unanimous" decision taken by staff and management to take part in the nationwide movement.

In total, almost 200 staff members and their families will join the boycott, a decision the restaurant said was taken "in support of our immigrant customers, community, employees, and in honor of our immigrant parents Tomas & Maria Silva whom built El Burrito Mercado."

Also closing on Thursday will be the El Nuevo Rodeo restaurant on Lake Street in Minneapolis, which said on its Facebook page Wednesday morning it is joining "the cause."

El Nuevo owner Maya Santamaria told the Pioneer Press the restaurant will open at 9 p.m. for a planned Jamaican reggae DJ night, saying she didn't want to "sabotage" the DJ's grand opening, but will leave it up to employees if they want to work the night.

"Unless you’re 100 percent Native American, all of us have an immigrant background,"she told the newspaper. "That’s something we should bring out that day. … It’s a peaceful movement. It’s an economic boycott."

The Twin Cities' response to the boycott seems to be muted in comparison to what's happening in Des Moines, Iowa, where the Des Moines Register reports at least 70 businesses have pledged their support to the movement.

Immigration issues in the headlines

Already this week, the Day Without Immigrants movement has seen a rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thousands took to the streets after Sheriff David Clarke confirmed his officers would start carrying out immigration enforcement functions, the Chicago Tribune reports.

On Saturday, around 2,000 people joined a "Caravan of Love" walk in support of Muslim and Mexican immigrants and refugees in Minneapolis.

That comes after Trump last month threatened to withdraw federal funding from so-called "Sanctuary Cities," where local authorities have opted not to detain immigrants in the country illegally in cooperation with Immigration and Customers Enforcement (ICE).

ICE has been undertaking a multi-state crackdown targeting immigrants in the country illegally with criminal backgrounds over the past week, the Nation reports, though ICE officials says this was "no different from the routine" established under President Barack Obama, during whose tenure a record 2.5 million undocumented people were deported from the U.S.

However, the BBC reports that among those currently being detained by ICE agents is a 23-year-old Mexican who, despite being brought to the country illegally as a 7 year old, now has a valid work permit and no criminal record.

Also proving a controversial subject among Mexican communities is President Trump's proposed border wall. Meanwhile the Republican Party is considering wider measures to limit legal migration into the country, as reported by CNN.

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