About 30 immigration activists made 5 pm dinner reservations on Wednesday for the restaurant on the first floor of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC.
They entered dressed in suits, wearing ties and khakis. They snuck two bullhorns and 30 noisemakers in briefcases, as well as dozens of pamphlets and a banner reading, “Immigrants are #HereToStay”
Then the protesters, organized by the United We Dream advocacy group, rose out of their tables and started yelling in unison. They unfurled the banner. “No justice, no peace,” they chanted.
BREAKInG: Pro-DACA activists are sounding bullhorns in demonstration inside Trump International Hotel pic.twitter.com/6T9LvCfEo9— Jeff Stein (@JStein_Vox) September 6, 2017
On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced it will be begin sunsetting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which shielded 800,000 young immigrants from deportation, over a six-month period.
Activists are trying to force congressional lawmakers to step into the breach. More than 30 DACA-related protests have been held around the country this week; immigration activists occupied 18 different congressional offices in Pennsylvania on Wednesday alone, according to the Center for Popular Democracy.
“We’re ready for a national emergency call to action,” said Greisa Martinez Rosas, the advocacy director of United We Dream. “Any Republicans or Democrats not on our side better believe we’ll be at their offices, in their churches, and wherever they get their late-night drinks to make sure they know what’s at stake and that we won’t go away until the rights of immigrants are protected and safe.”
The group crashing Trump’s hotel said it wanted to take the fight more directly to the president’s doorstep.
“We felt we needed to disrupt Trump’s personal world just a little bit, given how much he had disrupted ours,” said Gustavo, one activist organizing the protest, adding he would not give his last name for fear of government reprisal.
Trump has said he hopes Congress finds a solution. “This is a gradual process, not a sudden phase out,” the president said in a statement. “I am not going to just cut DACA off, but rather provide a window of opportunity for Congress to finally act.”
The 30 activists crashing Trump’s restaurant are mostly but not all DREAMers, and prepared to be arrested en masse in Wednesday action, according to United We Dream.
“We understand the hotel is a profit center for Trump’s family,” Gustavo said, “and we want to advise all the guests and patrons who spend their money there that their money is going to support a white supremacist agenda.”
But the activists did plan to spend some money at the Trump Hotel on Wednesday. “We will tip the wait staff,” Gustavo said.