February 16, 2017
By Jacqueline Quynh
Many people are reacting to 'A Day Without Immigrants.'
President Donald Trump has focused heavily on immigration, and building a wall.
"The first thing we're going do, if and when I win, is we're going get rid of all the bad ones," President Trump said last year during his campaign.
Largely, many feel that message has been directed at Hispanics. Still, other immigrants have also faced similar struggles, and they reacted to the message the day sent.
In New Orleans East, we found Ken Nguyen who immigrated to the U.S. when he was nine.
"I was handy with hands, so I made commercials store signs, I did some photography work, I pretty much paid most of my way through school," Nguyen said.
He and his wife have set up a pharmacy store near Chef Menteur Highway in a retail area filled with other Vietnamese businesses.
"Honestly we want everybody to be treated fairly and everybody to be equals," he explained. "And sometimes we have been treated like, people look at us you know you're still Vietnamese, and of a certain culture and stuff like that."
From New Orleans East, we traveled to the International Market, a warehouse grocery filled with Southeast Asian specialties in Metairie.
"So if these markets will stop then it'll be really difficult for us," said Pranaya Pokhrel.
Pokhrel said a wider closure of shops on this day would make it hard to ignore.
"If you do that, then people will get this, more seriously," he said.
But what if other ethnic groups did join?
"We're often referred to as a gumbo pot," said Mayra Pineda, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Louisiana CEO and President.
Pineda encourages it.
"We're saying today it maybe this community tomorrow it may be your community."
The closure of ideal markets may be one example. The owners have Arab roots from Central America, but their clientele is largely Latino.
"So you have the owners supporting the group that is their livelihood," said Pineda.
The list of closures this day includes Ideal Market, Norma's Bakery as well as Casa Borrega Restaurant. Around the country, a number of McDonald's chains also closed.
Source: WWL TV