A Day Without Immigrants

Natalia Marron, Staff Writer

   February 14, 2022, is recognized as Valentine’s Day, however this year it was also, “A Day Without Immigrants”. To show solidarity for immigrants, people all around the US  did not participate in activities such as school, work, and spending money at stores, restaurants, and shops.

  The event was organized by various people from different states to show support for immigrants. Participants of the day varied in age and audience. 

¨I decided to participate in that day because I thought it was important to show where I come from and to show that immigrants are something,¨  freshman Cithlali Villanueva-Cervantes said.

Participation in the event gave attention to the message that immigrants are an important part of our economy and community. The ultimate goal of the day was to gain support and traction.

   ¨A Day Without Immigrants shows how much we’re reliant on labor from immigrants,¨ Ethnic Studies and Global Perspectives teacher Mark Adamski said.

The day was made not just to support immigrants, but the family and friends affected by laws and lack of aid due to citizenship status. 

¨I think it is important because I come from Mexican parents, and I think it’s good to show where you come from, and just help your community,¨ Villanueva-Cervantes said. 

Protests were scheduled in front of the White House and in at least 15 cities to call for reform. These protests were specifically made to target Biden after his promises to provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people in the United States. 

¨My personal opinion was that it is important to point out that immigrants, we do need them,¨ freshman Gabriela Martinez-Gonzalez said.

Local news and social media influencers helped boost the message, and details of the day.

¨I heard it on the news. I was just randomly watching the local news and they came up and I decided to participate in it,¨ Villanueva-Cervantes said. 

A day without immigrants was created years back beginning in 2006. In earlier years, the day was simply a  protest, now the movement has shifted in a more subtle way centered around individual choices. 

    Valentine’s Day proved to be a large distraction from the protest. Many were angered with the choice of day and hoped to hold the protest on a different day in the future.

¨A lot of people didn’t participate because of Valentine’s Day. It could have been better another day,¨ Martinez-Gonzalez said.

 Companies that wanted to participate but could not do so because of previous money lost due to COVID  just donated a portion of the revenue made that day.

Many ask for stricter immigration laws due to myths and misconceptions about immigrants and policies, like immigrants taking jobs from Americans and not paying taxes.

¨I think that one of those myths is that they exploit our community, our country, take advantage, and don’t pay taxes on those things. And that’s not the case at all,¨ Adamski said. 

Many related to the issue through family and friends call for reform in the wake of COVID, a time when immigrants were not offered the same aid such as stimulus checks and in some cases unemployment benefits.

¨Here’s the thing. My friends, they’re immigrants, right? It really hurts me that they’re not getting health rights, just because we’re not from here or not from America. And I would have to say that, yes, it’s very unfair,¨ Martinez-Gonzalez said.

Migrants not only fear for themselves but for families brought into the US and children and parents sharing different citizenship statuses.

¨That day was to prove a point to the White House of why immigrants should stay here and why they need to be here,¨ Villanueva-Cervantes said. 

  Some of those providing health care came on DACA deferred action for childhood arrivals and were given no choice but to continue working during the pandemic. 

¨I mean, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings who should be treated right,¨ Martinez-Gonzalez said.