A day without immigrants - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

A day without immigrants

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PASCO, WA - Thousands of immigrants and supporters around the country took part in a national day without immigrants. Many local restaurants and businesses worked with a short staff or even closed as part of the nationwide protest.

Reporter Mackenzie Maynard found some businesses, were, in fact, closed today, but others were not. 

Today in downtown Pasco, she saw a lot of "open" signs not lit up, and a lot of locked doors. And it's not the rain keeping people home.

"All the businesses be close, so I close too," said Maria Ochoa, owner of La Princesa.

Ochoa has owned her shop in downtown Pasco for almost 25 years, and today she decided to take a stand to support those who have supported her for decades, by keeping her shop closed for the day.

"We say thank you for all these years supporting us and the business," Ochoa said.

Along with Ochoa, a lot of other stores kept their doors locked today, including Fiesta Foods and Vinny's Bakery, who left a statement on their doors for customers, saying "in support of the Latin community we will be closed today open again tomorrow at 6 am".

Although Mackenzie did find the open sign flashing and people inside of American Family Insurance.

"Because we have customers and appointments we couldn't let go," said Nicolas Zavala, owner of the Pasco American Family Insurance branch.

While Nicolas kept his doors open, he still supports his community. 

"There's just different ways of being supportive, this might help but there are many other ways," he said.

In fact, while he did keep his doors open, his wife who owns a shop a few stores down, closed hers.

Being a business owner, he says he attends city council meetings and believes the power stands behind the voter.

"I have been to the council meetings," Zavala said. "There are many other initiatives to keep Hispanic community safe and not afraid and prosperous in the community."

And not just businesses took part...today we talked with some school districts, and Pasco School District told us they had 4,500 absences, and their attendance percentage was down to 70.5% from their average 94%. They also told us today is being treated like any regular absence.

Richland School District told us they had nothing unusual today; attendance was normal.

Kennewick School District told us their absentee rates doubled in 11 out of 27 schools.

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