SPOKANE, Wash. --- Normally a bustling spot during the work week lunch hour, Hogan’s Café Deluxe on the South Hill was unusually quiet Thursday afternoon.
A sign posted on the door informed their would-be customers they were closed in solidarity with the national “Day without Immigrants” protests taking place across the nation.
Hogan’s is just one local example of immigrants around the U.S. staying home from work and school Thursday to demonstrate how important they are to America's economy.
Many businesses closed in solidarity as part of the nationwide protest. The boycott was designed to make a statement about President Donald Trump’s efforts to step up deportations, build a wall at the Mexican border and tighten the nation’s borders to many travelers.
“I didn’t realize they were closed for that, so that’s wonderful,” said one would-be Hogan's diner, Connie Connelly. “I think it’s great, I’m a retired teacher and I’ve had lots of immigrant children in my classroom and I’ve worked with some ESL adults and they’re all just so happy to be in our country.”
Connelly said her students were “wonderful and energetic” people who add “a lot to our country.”
Below is the full text of the sign on Hogan’s door:
Dear Loyal Patrons.... Hogan's Diner is entirely dependent on the hard work, love, and extreme dedication of our loyal staff, all of whom are decedents of immigrants or first generation immigrants themselves. Collectively, we represent the stories and struggles of hopeful people from around the globe who came to America seeking a better life for themselves and their families. On Thursday, February 16, we will close for the day to honor their contribute and affirm their worth to our business, community, and country.
“I say if that’s what they want to do then I’m all for it, yeah, so I support them with their decision,” said Amanda Hansen another person who had hoped to eat at Hogan’s Thursday.
“I think it’s wonderful, I think we all have to stake a stand. Nobody stands alone,” said Sue McDowell. “We have to stand together and that’s where we have strength.”
Of the people outside of Hogan’s today, KREM 2 only found one person who was against the closure, but they would not speak on camera. Tell us what you think of the protest in the comments on our Facebook Page here.
Organizers appealed to immigrants from all walks of life to take part, but the effects were felt most strongly in the restaurant industry, which has long been a first step up the economic ladder for newcomers to America. Restaurant owners with immigrant roots of their own - like Hogan's - were among those acting in solidarity with workers.
"The really important dynamic to note is this is not antagonistic, employee-against-employer," said Janet Murguia, president of the Hispanic rights group National Council of La Raza. "This is employers and workers standing together, not in conflict."
President Donald Trump held a press conference Thursday, and defended the security measures.
“We are saving lives every single day,” he said.
The Associated Press reported roughly 12 million people are employed in the restaurant industry, and immigrants make up the majority — up to 70 percent in places like New York and Chicago, according to the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which works to improve working conditions. An estimated 1.3 million in the industry are immigrants in the U.S. illegally, the group said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Hogan's Cafe Deluxe on the South Hill is closed today in solidarity with "A Day Without Immigrants." pic.twitter.com/qrA6y59YpP— Lindsay Nadrich (@KREMLindsay) February 16, 2017