Its a nationwide protest to send a message to the Trump administration and the country the current immigration policy of detention and deportation of illegal immigrants is bad for the economy and has people living in fear.
At the La Princesa Market in Santa Maria, where locals come to buy groceries and other products and services that reach across the border to Mexico, a sign is posted on the door letting customers know they will be closed for business on Thursday, February 16.
“We need to show people how they are going to be without us”, says market employee Diana Gutierrez.
Its a similar story across North Broadway at the popular La Picosita Restaurant where they too will close for business on Thursday and give their employees a paid day off in a show of solidarity with the national Day Without Immigrants protest.
“Its scary times”, says Juan Miranda whose sister owns the restaurant, “because without the immigrants, we really wouldn’t be in this business that my sister is in, they support this business a lot, they are very good customers of here, so I just hope things get resolved.”
The social media-spread Day Without Immigrants campaign caught the attention of local high school students motivated to participate.
“We have our parents here, they are illegal immigrants”, says Santa Maria High School student Ines Ruiz, “we don’t want to one day come from home school and then realize that our parents are not there.”
Ruiz and her classmates plan on skipping school Thursday to participate in what they consider to be an important political and economic statement to the Central Coast and the country.
“America was made you know with immigrants, and it has grown because of the immigrants”, Ruiz says, “we here support and we make the economy work, without us, I don’t think it would be working without us.”