DETROIT (WJBK) - Hundreds of people gathered Thursday morning at Detroit's Clark Park to take part in the Day Without Immigrants march.
Immigrants across the country are expected to stay home from school and work on Thursday to show how critical they are to the U.S. economy and way of life. Many business around metro Detroit are expected to be closed. Marches are also taking place in cities across the country.
The movement, which has gained momentum on social media and through word of mouth, comes in response to President Donald Trump. His administration has pledged to increase the deportation of immigrants living in the country illegally. Trump campaigned on building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, and blamed high unemployment on immigration. As president, he's called for a ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries from coming into the U.S.
"We got to stand and fight for our country. It's a country of immigrants and that's what it is," says Arnold Garcia. He's the manager of Sheila's Bakery in southwest Detroit. He says the business will be closed Thursday to stand with immigrant employees that are taking the day off.
"We are going to be paying our employees the day that they're going to be taking off. Our business won't be open but our employees will get paid," he says.
They won't be alone. Garcia says dozens of other businesses in metro Detroit will be closed, too.
"It's not just this business or this area, it's nationwide. California, Nevada, and Chicago," Garcia adds.
Protesters are taking aim at President Trump's immigration efforts to build a wall along the Mexican border, crackdown on on undocumented immigrants and ban travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.
"It's kind of sad you know to see families torn apart because of this moment. It's just unfair. I hope it does make a difference some way, some how. You never know," says Mari Cruz, who supports the Day Without Immigrants movement.
One of the areas that relies on immigrant workers is the service and restaurant industry. Statistics show the industry employs about a third of all undocumented immigrants. Many restaurants in southwest Detroit, which has a significant Latino population, are expected to be closed Thursday. Those that won't be closed will have a limited menu for their offerings.
A lot of people are eager to see how this will impact Washington. So far, no response from the White House.