A notice at the Spanish restaurant Jaleo advises patrons that it is closed in solidarity with the "A Day Without Immigrants" protest on Thursday in Washington, D.C. Businesses across the country will close as part of a boycott and strike to highlight contributions to U.S. culture and business by immigrants. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 16 (UPI) -- The United States, mostly in major cities, is gearing up for "A Day Without Immigrants" on Thursday in which immigrants will boycott businesses and schools to highlight their role in U.S. society.
Some immigrants in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and Albuquerque, as well as in other cities, plan to stay home from work and school, and refrain from spending money. The goal is to demonstrate the role immigrants play in society and persuade lawmakers to push back against President Donald Trump's hard-line stance on immigration.
Celebrity chef José Andrés said he would close most of his restaurants on Thursday in support of the immigrant protest. He said he closed his Washington, D.C., restaurants after he was notified by hundreds of his employees who said they would not go to work on Thursday.
"We are all one," Andrés said. "We should not be fighting among each other, we should all be working together to keep moving the country forward."
Andrés is in a lawsuit battle with Trump because Andrés pulled out from his restaurant deal at Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., because of Trump's previous comments about Mexicans. When announcing his campaign in 2015, Trump labeled some Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers.
Another restaurant -- the Sweetgreen salad chain -- said it would close its 18 locations in the Washington area.
"From doctors to dishwashers, immigrants are integral to daily life in the U.S.," said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of National Council of La Raza, on Twitter.
In Massachusetts, the Davis Museum at Wellesley College plans to cover or remove all artworks made or donated to the museum by immigrants.
In Albuquerque, schools urged parents to send their children to school because they fear the students would fall behind.
"We respectfully ask all parents to acknowledge that students need to be in class every day to benefit from the education they are guaranteed and to avoid falling behind in school and life," Albuquerque Public Schools principals wrote in a letter to parents.
In Washington, D.C., Public Schools Chief John Davis emailed school principals expressing respect for protests but insisting teachers and students be in class.
"DCPS schools are and will continue to be safe places for all students and all people in our communities, regardless of immigration status, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression," Davis wrote. "While some may plan to attend this week's walkout about immigration, all students and staff are expected to be in school throughout the day so that teaching and learning can continue. We highly value and are committed to fostering a learning environment where staff and students feel safe and secure and we respect the right to self-expression and peaceful protest."
But at least one school -- a bilingual charter school in Washington, D.C., -- planned to close for the day.