Several East Boston Businesses Take Part in ‘One Day Without Immigrants” Protest

By John Lynds

A sign outside the Cactus Grill in Maverick Square shows the popular Eastie restaurants support of the neighborhood and country’s immigrant population and took part in last week’s ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ protest.

Several East Boston businesses like La Sultana Bakery and the Cactus Grill took part in the nationwide protest concerning President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

The ‘One Day Without Immigrants’ was held last Thursday and a half dozen Eastie businesses closed up shop in solidarity with the neighborhood and nation’s immigrant population.

Instead of an open for business sign, patrons to several popular Eastie restaurants and businesses were met with a sign that read ‘My Business Supports One Day Without Immigrants, We Will Be Closed Thursday, February 16′.

Marvin Villanueva who’s family owns the Cactus Grill said the reason why his family decided to close last week is that a high percentage of customers are Latino.

“We didn’t want to open and have people feel we were not supporting their cause,” said Villanueva. “They are trying to stay here (in the U.S.) and work and we have to support them like they support us.”

Villanueva, who manages the restaurant for his father, said the family talked about the idea of closing and participating in the protest with each other and their employees and everyone agreed it was a good idea.

“It was the right thing to do,” he said. “Our customers were happy the next day that we did it.

However, Villanueva was’t sure if one day is going to make an impact.

“We are small business but maybe if bigger businesses like a construction company with a thousand Latino workers had to close for the day that might be a bigger impact,” he said. “For us we can close and move on. Some employees were concerned about losing money on our busiest days but it was the right thing.”

Villanueva may be right about the nationwide protests’ impact as Trump has pressed on with his immigration policies.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that ‘documents released on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by immigrants; enlist local police officers as enforcers; strip immigrants of privacy rights; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.”

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