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Know Your Rights
Source: AM New York
Subject: Immigration
Type: Media Coverage

Making Their Absence Felt: City’s Immigrants Prepare to Join Nationwide Rally and Boycott

For Washington Heights businesswoman Espana Aristy, deciding to close her restaurant today to support the nationwide boycott for immigrant rights was simply the right thing to do.


She will be joining in citywide lunch-hour ‘human chains” to protest immigration legislation in Congress. and she said she believes shutting her Little Apple Restaurant for the day will send a powerful message to the community.


“To close my business for 24 hours instead of one hour will have a greater impact in showing how valuable immigrants are to this country,” she said.


Indeed, in her neighborhood as in others around the city and the nation, businesses yesterday had signs up saying they will be closed today.


Even Goya, the largest Hispanic food distribution company in the nation, has suspended deliveries across the nation today in support of undocumented immigrants.

In New York, thousands of immigrants and their supporters are expected to participate in today’s boycott and rally.

New Yorkers are being asked to stop working at 12:16 p.m., a symbolic time representing the date the most punitive immigration bill, HR 4437, was passed. The bill would criminalize undocumented immigrants and those who assist them.

The New York Immigration Coalition together with other groups and even some employers are also planning 20-minute human chains at that time in commercial districts throughout the five boroughs.

Labor leaders, employers and other groups have scheduled a 4 p.m. rally at Union Square Park and a march along Broadway. The march will begin in Chinatown at 3 p.m.

Demonstrations began yesterday. One was held by Make the Road by Walking, an immigrant-advocacy organization in Brooklyn. At another, in

Bushwick, more than 100 people marched.

“We wanted to focus today’s demonstration on the exploitation of immigrant workers,” said Friedman of Make the Road by Walking, adding that yesterday’s demonstration was also a way to celebrate the half-million dollars in back wages the group says it has recovered.

His organization is participating in the human chain at the Statue of Liberty with dozens of other groups.

“We want to draw attention on the economic and cultural contribution that immigrants make in this county,” Friedman said.