As part of a nationwide grassroots movement, Houstonians are expected to rally Thursday in opposition to what some see as a crackdown on undocumented immigrants. A Day Without Immigrants, or Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes in Spanish, is calling on immigrants—regardless of legal status—to turn out Thursday.
According to an event posted on Facebook by immigrant advocacy group FIEL Houston, the rally will be held at Guadalupe Plaza, 333 S. Jensen Drive, Houston, at 6 p.m.
Organizers are asking immigrants to not go to work or school, not to shop or dine out as a form of boycott. FIEL Houston did not immediately return Community Impact Newspaper‘s requests for comment.
The organization’s Executive Director Cesar Espinosa was quoted in the Houston Chronicle saying, “This idea came from an organic movement that started online to show what it would mean to have a day without immigrants in this country and in our city.”
Houston’s foreign-born population as of 2015 was 30.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. During that year, foreign-born population was 26.5 percent in Harris County, 29.2 percent in Fort Bend County, 12.6 percent in Montgomery County and 13.6 percent in Brazoria County.
Thursday’s efforts come after Daniel Ramirez Medina, an undocumented Mexican man, was reportedly detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, or ICE, in Seattle over the weekend. Medina had been given permission to temporarily remain in the U.S. through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program created in 2012.
Immigration is also on the mind of Texas lawmakers as a bill to moves through the state Legislature. Senate bill 4, which passed the Senate on Feb. 8, would punish local law enforcement in so-called “sanctuary cities” that do not comply with ICE detainer requests for undocumented persons.
During his regular Wednesday press conference, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city was “a welcoming city” and that he valued the city’s diversity.
“I’ve always said HPD is not going to be ICE,” he said. “We will certainly adhere to federal guidelines or [regulations]or state laws or regulations that come down so long as they are consistent with the United States Supreme Court and the United States Constitution,” he said.