New Mexico businesses close for immigration protest

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A number of businesses nationwide Thursday closed their doors as part of “A Day Without Immigrants.” Others skipped school. From Santa Fe to Albuquerque, it was not business as usual.

“We figured it was important to support immigrant rights. We see it that they’re human beings too,” said Robert Martinez, owner of Los Comprades on Central in Albuquerque.

Lucian Orsinger, a Santa Fe student, had hoped to dine at Jambo Cafe in Santa Fe. “I was a little disappointed at first, but I think it’s for a good cause,” he noted.

Marga Matakovich said, “I am so pleased. This is the best news ever that they’re closed to support our proud immigrants. This guy didn’t have to do that. He’s losing business today but he’s helping people.”

“I think it’s terrific. I think America is great, and this was built on the backs, arms, strength and goodwill of our immigrants and I think we need to honor that,” said Garrick Beck, a regular patron at Counter Culture in Santa Fe.

Social media was buzzing with the hashtag, #ADayWithoutImmigrants, trending all day. Some simply noted local closures, other patrons showed support for participating eateries, but in our current political climate, others fired back.

One poster indicated his day “has not been affected one way or another.” Others, expressing opposition to illegal immigration, used the event as a call to report illegal immigrants and to build the wall, one of President Trump’s key platforms.

The protest went beyond restaurants. One shoe store in Santa Fe was closed, and on social media, a Santa Fe teacher reported half of his first-period class was absent.

Albuquerque Public Schools noted that 12,289 students out of 85,234 were absent on “A Day Without Immigrants.” Last February 16 was an in-service day for the school district, compared to last year on February 16, APS said 10,024 students were reported absent that day.

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