Businesses In Little Village Close For Nationwide “Day Without Immigrants”

CHICAGO (CBS) – A nationwide campaign picked up momentum Thursday in Chicago.

A boycott highlighting the contributions of immigrants to the U.S. Businesses joined the effort Thursday in the predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood of Little Village. CBS 2’s Sandra Torres has more on the story.

Shops and restaurants along 26th Street generate millions of dollars for the city of Chicago, but Thursday many of the businesses had signs saying “estamos cerrados,” we are closed, in solidarity with a “Day Without Immigrants.”

Its a ghost town on 26th Street,” said Nazario Perez. “We are at a standstill. Everything is paralyzed.”

A street that’s usually bustling during lunch time, is in its majority closed for business.

Nazario Perez owns a store that imports dairy and frozen products from Mexico to the United States. But on Thursday, he chose not to open his business as part of a national “Day Without Immigrants.”

“We feel we would close more days,” Perez said. “We would be permanently closed if it continues to be this way.”

He refers to President Trump’s policies on immigrants. The day of action called for immigrants to not go to work or school, close their businesses, and abstain from shopping.

That is why no one is placing orders Thursday at Pollo Feliz on 26th Street.

“We’ve never closed,” said Karem Arenas Balcarte, Admin, Pollo Feliz. “Ever. Even Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving, we are open. It’s very important for us to take a stand, to show the country we are a very important for the economy.”

And while some stayed home, hundreds of others like, Guillermo Mada, a Mexican immigrant and American citizen, who didn’t show up to work at a Chicago hotel, demonstrated at Union Park.

“They don’t have dishwashers, they don’t have bus boys, no cooks,” Mada said. “We want to send a message that we are important. We are part of America as well”

Some of the business owners CBS 2 talked to said they are still going to pay their employees, even if they did not show up Thursday.

Twelve employees at Pollo Feliz were not paid Thursday, after not coming to work, but they said the sacrifice was worth it.

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