Austin Businesses Strike in Solidarity with Immigrants in U.S.

Feb 16, 2017

Businesses across Austin were closed Thursday as part of a nationwide strike to show support for immigrants in the U.S.

“Day Without Immigrants” was organized in response to President Trump’s immigration agenda, including the recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, the proposed border wall with Mexico and the now-suspended travel ban. The aim of the protests is to show the contributions immigrants make in the country on a daily basis.

Scores of protesters gathered at Austin City Hall and marched to the Capitol in a peaceful protest of the ICE actions. 

“I’m here to show my support for people protesting the recent ICE raids and the horrible policies of our new administration that are so anti-immigrant,” demonstrator Hillary Thomas Oliver said.  

Meanwhile, student absences were reported across Central Texas. KIPP Austin said 40 percent of its students were absent.

Karen Barnes, bus driver coordinator for Austin ISD, told KUT’s Kate McGee that many drivers were carrying only about a third of the students they normally carry.

“One of the drivers called in saying that they had only picked up two students,” she said, “and they normally carry about 60 students on their elementary run.”

A recent analysis from the Pew Research Center found that 100,000 unauthorized immigrants lived in Austin in 2014. Advocates have organized informational sessions to provide resources and teach the community their rights should they encounter ICE agents. Families of those caught up in raids planned to tell their stories this afternoon at City Hall.   

Nearly 700 people were arrested in the first week of targeted ICE enforcement operations across the country, sowing fear in immigrant communities. In Austin, at least 51 people were arrested in the first two days alone.

The restaurants closed Thursday include: 

This is a developing story.