PITTSBURG — While ethnic restaurants in Pittsburg all had their doors open, a large number of students from immigrant families were all missing school for a national effort called a “Day Without Immigrants.”
The national effort is in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration agenda, which includes temporary-travel ban on seven Muslim countries and a wall to stop illegal immigrants from flowing in from Mexico.
Monica LaForte, migrant and ESOL director for the Pittsburg school district, said the 127 immigrant students missing from school on Thursday was much higher than usual, which is usually less than 10. The district has roughly 325 immigrant students.
“They want to be supportive of their parents protesting and be with family and show support,” LaForte said.
Family-owned Fernandez Market on Fourth Street was also open for business. The Mexican-market owner, Miguel Fernandez, said he tried to hold a rally at his business and began planning it on Sunday.
He said enough people did not show support, so he cancelled the event.
“People are scared to lose their job,” Fernandez said, adding his biggest concern with Trump’s agenda is taking people from their families.
His wife, Herminia Ramirez, was born in Mexico. Ramirez said she understood why Trump would be trying to ban illegal immigrants, but what most people don't know, she said, is how hard it is to become a U.S. citizen.
When asked why, a woman at the counter chimed in: “Because of all the regulations.”
The 20,233 people in Pittsburg, as of the 2010 census, are 87 percent white. Latinos make up the second largest population with roughly 7 percent.
In the 58 percent Latino town of Dodge City, USD 443 information officer Yvonda Offerle reported that 2,690 students did not attend school Thursday out of a possible 7,048.
Throughout the day, the hashtag #ADayWithoutImmigrants was trending on Twitter. Restaurants throughout the country were expected to be closed and rallies occurred nationwide.
Immigrants across the nation planned not to spend money on Thursday, so President Trump and his administration could see the impact immigrants have on the economy.
Trump’s immigration ban to is currently on hold as it goes through the legal process. According to an Associated Press story on Thursday, the Trump administration submitted court documents asking for a pause in the legal proceedings surrounding the executive order banning travelers from seven predominantly-Muslim nations, so it can issue a replacement ban as it strives to protect the nation from terrorism.
The Dodge City Daily Globe contributed to this story.
— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.