Some immigrants in Los Angeles joined a national "Day Without Immigrants" Thursday, a protest encouraging immigrants to effectively withdraw from the economy for a day to dramatize the roles they play in American society.
"A Day Without Immigrants" actions were planned in Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and other cities with large immigrant populations, with activists urging immigrants to avoid work, school and shopping.
The protest comes in response to President Donald Trump and his 1-month-old administration. The Republican president has pledged to increase deportation of immigrants living in the country illegally, build a wall along the Mexican border, and ban people from certain majority-Muslim countries from coming into the U.S. He also has blamed high unemployment on immigration.
Early Thursday morning in the Los Angeles County city of Cudahy, at least two business was participating in the demonstration, with flyers posted on the windows noting the business would remain closed.
Fred Melgar, who immigrated from El Salvador in the early 80s, kept his driving school closed on Thursday.
"We want to let the government know. This is community," Melgar said. "We provide for the state, okay. Everybody pays taxes. We're here, and we came over here with a dream. And the dream is to be better."
Javier Signeros said he wanted to support his friends and his people, but was on his way to work Thursday morning because he has to support his family and get food on the table.
The Los Angeles Unifed School District left voicemails for parents and employees, urging them not to skip school, Wednesday night.
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"While we respect everyone's right to have their voices heard and toparticipate in civic action such as protest, all students and staff are encouraged and expected to come to school," Alma Pena-Sanchez, the LAUSD's chief of staff, told parents and employees Wednesday night in the voicemail.
The LAUSD, the nation's second-largest school district, is 74 percent Latino. Pena-Sanchez said the district's campuses offer a "safe and productive forum where students can express their thoughts and feelings."
"I urge students and staff not to disrupt learning by participating in protest or walkouts during the instructional day," she said.
Toni Guinyard, City News Service and the Associated Press contributed to this report.