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News / City Life

Dozens of Chicago businesses close for 'Day Without Immigrants'

Photograph: Lindsay Gallup

Immigrants, their allies and businesses across Chicago are taking part in a day of action on Thursday to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Dozens of restaurants, retailers and other businesses in the city are participating in the “Day Without Immigrants” protest by closing their doors, contributing a portion of the day’s proceeds to immigrant rights groups or excusing absences for employees taking part in the nationwide boycott.

The day of protest is taking place in major cities across the U.S., including Chicago, Philadelphia, New York City and Washington, D.C. Organizers say the goal of the action is to highlight the central role immigrants play in the economy and the American way of life, as well as to voice their opposition to the president’s anti-immigrant agenda. That agenda includes increasing deportation of undocumented immigrants, banning people entering the country from seven Muslim-majority countries and building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

In Chicago, immigrant rights advocates will hold a Strike Back Against Deportations rally in Union Park Thursday afternoon. That demonstration comes after Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested nearly 700 people in nationwide raids last week, including 48 Chicagoans.

Among those Chicago businesses closed for the Day Without Immigrants action are four restaurants owned by celebrity chef Rick Bayless. “For three decades, we’ve been a place that has welcomed, respected and promoted our immigrant staff, friends and restaurant family,” Bayless said in a statement. “Out of respect for our staff’s vote to support Thursday’s immigrant civil actions in Chicago and elsewhere, we are closing Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, Xoco and Fonda Frontera on Thursday.”

Leña Brava and Cruz Blanca, also owned by Bayless, will remain open, but he said 10 percent of sales will be donated to the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. According to Eater Chicago, more than 50 additional restaurants are closed for the day. Restaurants and businesses participating in the Day Without Immigrants protest include:

Pete's Fresh Market (five Chicago locations)
5 Rabinitos
El Mariachi Restaurant
El Mariachi Tequila Bar
La Peña Restaurant
Paco’s Tacos
Taqueria al Mezquite
Rapidito Colombian Gourmet Bites
La Vaca Margarita Bar
Cesars Killer Margaritas (Wrigleville and Lakeview locations)
La Parada
La Catedral Cafe
Vista Hermosa Restaurant
La Quinta de los Reyes
Revolucion Mexican Streakhouse
Birrieria De La Torre
Salsa and Chips
May Street Cafe
El Nuevo Mexicano
The Handlebar
Tacos Tequilas
Blind Faith Cafe
Azul 18
Razpachos Neveria
Doña Torta
Townhouse Restaurant and Wine Bar
Quesadilla La Reina Del Sur
Mariscos El Kora
Tierra Caliente
Las Quecas
Los Comales
Cescas Margaritas Bar
Alaska Paleteria Y Neveria
Cafe Tola (California; Southport will donate 10 percent of sales to Cesar Chavez Foundation)
La Quinta de los Reyes
Yuzu (closed for lunch)
La Lagartija Taqueria
The Grillroom Chophouse
The Berghoff Cafe
Rojo Gusano (all four locations)
Johnny’s Grill

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