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Chef shutters three Phoenix restaurants for Day Without Immigrants protest

(Facebook Photo)

PHOENIX — Three Phoenix restaurants were closed Thursday to stand in solidarity with a national protest showing the impact immigrants have on the United States, their owner said.

Chef Silvana Salcido Esparza said in a Facebook post that her popular restaurants — Barrio Cafe, Barrio Cafe Gran Reserva and Barrio Urbano — stand with “our immigrant brothers and sisters” in the Day Without Immigrants protest.

Reactions to the Facebook post varied. Some commenters said they support Esparza’s decision, while others called for an investigation into her hiring practices.

The nationwide demonstration encourages all immigrants to stay home from work or school and avoid spending money to show how critical they are to the U.S. economy and way of life.

It comes in response to President Donald Trump, whose 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 banned people from seven Muslim-majority countries from coming into the U.S., though that was later struck down by the Ninth Court of Appeals.

Esparza’s restaurants will be joined by protests in cities including Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Houston, Chicago and New York. The protest gained momentum on social media and by word of mouth.

Several other Arizona restaurants, including Salsa Brava in Flagstaff, also closed for the day.

Esparza was recently named as a semifinalist for a prestigious James Beard culinary award.

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