‘A Day Without Immigrants’ Campaign Asks Immigrants To Stop Work, School and Spending on February 14 To Pressure Reform From Congress
While February 14 is a day most of us associate with heart-shaped chocolate boxes, balloons, and yes, all things capitalism, a campaign called “A Day Without Immigrants” is looking to turn the holiday on its head.
Devised by 23-year-old Carlos Eduardo Espina, a Mexican-Uruguayan immigrant studying law at the University of Nevada, the campaign is meant to make people realize the impact immigrants have on the United States on a daily basis — and how much immigrants are needed. Meanwhile, undocumented women from all over the U.S. have rallied to write press releases and coordinate the country-wide protests.
It asks immigrants from all over the country to stay home on February 14, refusing to attend work, spend any money, or even take their kids to school.
As per the campaign’s Facebook page, immigrants keep this country’s economy on its feet through both labor and spending — and are looking to really make their absence felt by scheduling this protest on one of the biggest capitalist holidays.
“We’re not going to work. We’re not going to school. We’re not going to spend money. Instead, we’re peacefully going out to the streets to make our voices heard.” So what does the campaign look to do exactly? In short, it looks to push for reform from Congress for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in this country.
Although President Biden initially promised to create “a clear roadmap to legal status and citizenship for unauthorized immigrants” while campaigning for the presidency, those plans have still not come to fruition.
In response, Espina has withdrawn his support, and “A Day Without Immigrants” is meant to push for those promises to come to life.
Millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. work without benefits and experience poor working conditions, while the U.S. economy benefits from their labor.
Just like the “Day Without Immigrants” held in 2017 to protest Trump’s immigration policies and discourse, 2022’s version is gaining massive traction — propelled by Espina’s 2.5 million followers on TikTok.
Espina spoke to mitú about his vision for the day, explaining that while immigrants all over the U.S. should try to not work, go to school, or spend money on February 14 and even go out to protest if possible, he is organizing a rally to be held at 10:00 a.m. in front of the White House. If these options are not possible, immigrants should also abstain from using and engaging on social media that day.
According to Espina, this is a “peaceful” protest, and is meant to make the government recognize immigrants’ importance in this country — all in the name of immigration reform that was promised at the beginning of Biden’s campaign.
In regard to Biden’s policies, Espina explained that although Biden said he would “fight for immigrants [and] do everything possible to get immigration reform approved,” that hasn’t happened yet. In fact, they haven’t seen “either [the] immigration reform or the fighting spirit he promised.” Describing how “Biden is similar to Trump in regard to immigration policies,” Espina said, “we want someone to fight for us in the White House.”