Local businesses close their doors for a ‘Day Without Immigrants’

NORFOLK, Va. - Joining a movement across the country, several restaurants in Hampton Roads closed their doors on Thursday in support of a "Day Without Immigrants."

It's a national grassroots movement and boycott in response to President Trump's executive order on immigration. The goal is also to highlight the contributions and necessity of the immigrant community in the United States.

Jorge Romero, owner of Jessy's Taco Bistro in Ghent and Jessy's Taqueria in Ocean View says both of his restaurants are closed.

He posted a long sign on the door, saying in part "Today, February 16th, Jessy's is closed for business in efforts to stand behind our fellow immigrants being pursued by our president's harsh immigration crack-down. This is a humane and moral stance against the reckless and thoughtless administration of power resulting in separation of families, racial profiling of legal residents because of their skin appearance, skin color, or religious beliefs."

Romero says he moved to the United States when he was eight-years-old.

He says eighty percent of his employees are immigrants.

"It’s nothing to be afraid of, to be scared of, the amount of loss," he says. "We’re going to lose more if we don’t take a stand against everything that is going on than just a couple of dollars."

News of the movement spread quickly though word of mouth and on social media posts with the hashtag #ADayWithoutImmigrants, calling on participants to skip work and school and close businesses.

Romero says several other restaurants, including La Tapatia on Virginia Beach Boulevard in Virginia Beach, Los Cuates Taqueria on Newtown Road in Virginia Beach, La Comercial Tienda & Mexican Cuisine on Military Highway in Chesapeake, and Mi Tierra Mayas on Chesapeake Boulevard in Norfolk.