Arizona Businesses Close For “A Day Without Immigrants”

Barrio Cafe closed three restaurants on Thursday to show solidarity on “A Day Without Immigrants,” to protest an immigration crackdown and highlight contributions of immigrants in the economy. (Photo by Taryn Martin/Cronkite News)

By Charlene Santiago

PHOENIX – Dozens of Phoenix area businesses closed their doors and their employees stayed home for “A Day Without Immigrants,” a national effort to highlight the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. economy.

In Arizona and other states immigrants and their supporters did not go work, send their kids to school, shop or open their businesses.

“Ninety percent of my customers are Latinos and I want to show them my respect,” said Eduardo Gonzalez, owner of Señor Sushi. Gonzalez closed his restaurants in Glendale and Mesa.

The restaurant is popular for its signature Mexican-style sushi rolls and live music. His employees said they want to show support for their customers who are immigrants too. “They need to know that Señor Sushi is here for them,” said one of the sushi chefs who did not want to give his name because of his immigration status.

A sign posted outside Barrio Cafe in Phoenix informs customers about “A Day Without Immigrants,” a demonstration to show what America would look like without immigrants. (Photo taken by Taryn Martin/Cronkite News)

A sign posted outside Barrio Cafe in Phoenix informs customers about “A Day Without Immigrants,” a demonstration to show what America would look like without immigrants. (Photo by Taryn Martin/Cronkite News)

Alejandra Sinaloa, a manager at Señor Sushi, is from Mexico but has lived in Phoenix for more than a decade and supports “A Day Without Immigrants.”

“It’s an excellent idea,” she said in Spanish, “Most [immigrants] come to the country to work and to succeed.”

Many participants also wanted to protest recent immigration enforcement actions. “In Arizona this isn’t new,” Sinaloa said. She said immigration raids by former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio years ago hurt business at Señor Sushi because immigrant customers were afraid and stayed away.


Map by Taylor Notah/Cronkite News

Sinaloa said she will not be sending her kids to school to support the national strike. Several Valley school districts reported lower than usual attendance but could not confirm whether it was because of the protest.

Julio Hernandez, owner of El Sabroso Hot Dogs in Phoenix, also shut down his popular food truck for the day. “It’s the only way we think we can support this cause, by showing the power and influence that we have on the economy of this country,” he said.

Julio Hernandez closes his restaurant in Phoenix, El Sabroso Hot Dog, for the day on Thursday, February 16, 2017 to stand in solidarity with the A Day Without Immigrants movement, a protest meant to show the the impact immigrants have on the community. (Photo taken by Taryn Martin/Cronkite News)

Julio Hernandez closes his restaurant in Phoenix, El Sabroso Hot Dog, for the day on Thursday, February 16, 2017, to stand in solidarity with the A Day Without Immigrants movement, a protest meant to show the the impact immigrants have on the community. (Photo by Taryn Martin/Cronkite News)

“A Day Without Immigrants” organizers used social media to call on diverse immigrant communities across the country to participate. Many of those speaking out in Phoenix were Latino. “I’m Mexican and I have to support other Mexican workers in the country,” said Dania Rodeo, an employee at La Gran Bota, a Phoenix store that sells men’s clothing, boots and western wear. La Gran Bota was among retail shops that did not open.

Restaurants of all sizes from mom and pop places to large, well known establishments showed their support by closing for a day “in solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters,” said head chef and owner of Barrio Cafe, Silvana Salcido Esparza . Barrio Cafe shuttered all three of its restaurants.

Barrio Cafe in central Phoenix closed for “A Day Without Immigrants” Thursday, a nationwide effort to show the economic contributions of immigrants. (Photo taken by Taryn Martin/Cronkite News)

Barrio Cafe in central Phoenix closed for “A Day Without Immigrants” Thursday, a nationwide effort to show the economic contributions of immigrants. (Photo by Taryn Martin/Cronkite News)

But some Arizona employees said they could not afford to stay home. “I have to work or they won’t pay me,” said Jorge Rodriguez during his lunch break. Rodriguez repairs and restores homes and commercial buildings damaged by floods and natural disasters. “I have to work to support my family,” said Rodriguez.

Cronkite News reporters Adriana De Alba and Maria Berrelleza contributed to this article.

17 Comments on "Arizona Businesses Close For “A Day Without Immigrants”"

  1. Waaaaa, Waaaaa, Waaaa, Waaaaa, no one cares about LEGAL immigrants, but its the ILLEGAL immigrants that need to leave and are killing our welfare system and costing the taxpayers billions of dollars to support Mexico’s “best and brightest.” Do it the right way or leave. My back hurts from carrying all the ILLEGALS while I have lived in Arizona. Its time for a change and secure our borders. Don’t want to break up your family, leave now and go back to Mexico and live on their welfare system. Oh, wait, Mexico doesn’t have one nor do they want their “best and brightest” back. Wonder why?

  2. Jerome R Petruk | February 17, 2017 at 5:33 am |

    Silliness. The U.S. was built on immigrants and few Americans are anti legal immigration. So, this is really about ILLEGAL entrants to the U.S. The rioters (who call themselves “organizers”) need a lesson in “truth in advertising”.

  3. David Thompson | February 17, 2017 at 6:20 am |

    I can promise all of these Businesses that they will get to experience the rest of my life without my money. They need to think about the illegal strain their illegal aliens place on the education,welfare, Medical services and many more services they suck up.

    Wake up America

  4. Tucson has already solved the “closed
    for the day,” problem by destroying
    the economy.

    There aren’t near as many businesses left
    to participate in this “protest.”

    You can bet all the Mexican cartel operated
    illegal enterprises didn’t close for the day.

  5. Common Sense, Please | February 17, 2017 at 7:39 am |

    Most of my Mexican students thought this was stupid and didn’t accomplish anything.

  6. ROTFLMAO – the welga! who knew… hey pepe’ you going to work today.. no dey klose say it’s for me.. now I don’t have a day’s pay – think I would have like to work

  7. I didn’t notice any disruption in my life.
    Maybe they should try closing for a month.

  8. The Oracle of Tucson | February 17, 2017 at 8:48 am |

    What a dumb and stupid idea, and for what. This should have truthfully been called “A Day Without Illegals,” not “A Day Without Immigrants”.
    The article clearly highlights thst with the “anonymous” comments by a criminal alien cook. This self gratifying feel good moment is on par with social masturbation, did it accomplish anything? NO.

    TOoT

  9. Hey! I have a great idea. Let’s get together and celebrate the people who come here illegally and take our jobs, reduce our wages, and use our tax dollars.

    Es el great idea, mon.

  10. Nothing but line jumpers stepping in front of the honest people waiting their turn.

  11. Too bad they refuse to have a day in support of America and legal immigrants. When too many of us believe we have the right to pick and choose the laws we will obey and the Democrat Party refuses to enforce alk our laws, our country will be at an end.

  12. This is so completely asinine! President Trump’s Executive Order affects illegal aliens with criminal records, not immigrants who came here legally & have obeyed the law. It helps to have good listening & reading skills in English in order to understand the Executive Order. Instead, it’s much easier to get one’s bowels in an uproar over misinformation which is spread by the liberal left wingers.

    • That is how they “keep” their slaves supporting them. Lies and distortion. It’s the new demokrat party.

  13. Common Sense, Please | February 17, 2017 at 1:35 pm |

    Did you read the sign in Barrio Cafe’s window?

    “Mister President, without us and without our input, this country will stand still.”

    Umm, nope! Did you notice anything “standing still” yesterday? I didn’t. I don’t want your “input,” I want your “output”–out of the country!

  14. Next year dual Holyday. Day without illegals and “pay for that wall”protest at the Mexican consulate .Rest of the year without American customer for the businesses that support illegal’s activists demands.

  15. Didn’t notice anything at all yesterday. But thanks for the article I can now add a few more businesses to my boycott list.

  16. Didn’t notice any change. I now have a list of places that won’t receive my money, however. Trump’s policy has no effect on people here legally; just the ones here illegally. I applaud those who came here legally; the ones here illegally are welcome to go back to whatever country they came from, since they seem to think it’s so much better than here.

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