HOUSTON - A grassroots movement to boycott President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown is sweeping the national and gaining momentum by the hour.
It calls for immigrants across the country to not attend work, not open their businesses, not spend money or even send their kids to school.
Immigrants make up 32 percent of Houston’s labor force. One out of nearly every four people in Harris County were born in another country, which amounts to about 1.6 million people.
Early Thursday, KHOU 11's Lauren Talarico quickly found at least one area business, a restaurant, that closed its doors for the day.
Supernova Furniture also confirmed that they were closed for the day.
“We are where all of America is going to be in about 25 years. We’re there first,” said Stephen Klineberg, professor of sociology at Rice University and founding director of the Kinder Institute. “No city has benefited more from immigration than Houston.”
Professor Stephen Klineberg believes the evolving diversity of Houston is proof of the constant growth that many other cities do not have.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 41 percent of Harris County residents are Latino, 33 percent are Caucasian, 18 percent are African American and 8 percent are Asian.
“If we would have lost population over the last 20 years, we would’ve been like other major American cities that are losing their status because they have stopped growing… like Philadelphia, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Detroit, Cincinnati and Buffalo,” explained Klineberg.
Klineberg said the oil bust of the mid-80’s is what forever changed the faces of Houston’s workforce.
The days when pump jacks stopped, the banks closed and former governors auctioned off their possessions marked the beginning of a shift in what made the Bayou City’s economy go round.
“Until that fateful day in May of 1982, when the oil boom collapsed, it was Anglos pointed to Houston from everywhere else in the country,” said Klineberg. “The biracial southern city dominated by white men became the single most ethnically diverse metropolitan area in the country.”
Several restaurants in Austin and other cities have posted fliers announcing closings tomorrow in support of the movement.
KHOU 11 News has not heard from any businesses officially participating in “A Day Without Immigrants”. However, at least three business owners, who asked not to be named, said they were bracing for the possibility of a number of workers not coming in.
“A Day Without Immigrants” rally in Houston is scheduled to happen at 6 p.m. Thursday at Guadalupe Plaza on Jensen Drive.