PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Immigrants in Philadelphia, and across the country, plan to walk off the job Thursday to prove a point to President Donald Trump.
It may be a little harder to find a place for lunch and it may be a little quieter at construction sites throughout the city because of a social media movement called “A Day Without Immigrants.”READ MORE: Officials Concerned Iconic Steeple At St. Leo's Could Collapse After 2-Alarm Fire Tears Through Tacony Church
“The message for them tomorrow is we’re here for work,” said Tamalex Restaurant owner David Pena.
The planned protests are nationwide, but Pena said he expects at least 20 shops in South Philly alone, which employ mostly immigrants, to close for the day.
“I decided to close my business because we want to support all the people – all the immigrant people,” said Pena.
From California to Philly, fliers are being shared online, urging both legal and undocumented immigrants to stay home, close their businesses and keep their children out of school.
All five employees at Tamalex will not work.
“I’m going to lose tomorrow between $3,500 to $4,000,” said Pena.
It’s all in an effort to show how important the immigrant community is to the local and national economy, with the hope of getting Trump’s attention.READ MORE: Franklin Institute Hosting One-Day COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic For People With Disabilities
“We want to let him know we’re not criminals. We’re workers. We support our country,” said Pena.
Some larger companies are also supporting this movement.
Jose Garces, who owns restaurants in Philly, New Jersey, New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, said in a statement he supports the “right for hospitality industry employees to have their voices heard.”
“We are in close communication with any employees who plan to participate Thursday and [we are] doing our best to mitigate against any potential impact to our guests’ experience. We will not take any adverse action with any employee who chooses to participate,” said Garces.
However, not everyone is supporting the movement. Aldrick Gessa-Lang, a Cuban immigrant, believes the protest is misguided.
“It’s confusing the issue of illegal immigration with legal immigration,” said Gessa-Lang.
She said the protests should be over immigration reform.
“I think the movement should be to reform government as far as the immigration system itself because that’s really what the issue is,” said Gessa-Lang.MORE NEWS: Susan G. Komen More Than Pink Walk Tradition Continues In Philadelphia
At least 800 immigrants are expected to not show up for work Thursday in Philadelphia.