Truckee experiences ‘A Day Without Immigrants’ |

Truckee experiences ‘A Day Without Immigrants’

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra SunFrom right, Ignacio Diaz, 10, Armando Herrera, 13, and Luis Gonzalez, 14, take part in a nationwide walkout at Truckee River Regional Park on Monday.

Downtown Truckee felt smaller on Monday. Classrooms noise sounded softer. The roads were perhaps less congested. For a day, Truckee was changed by the absence of immigrants going about their day-to-day lives.

Un Dia Sin Imigrantes ” A Day Without Immigrants ” made a national impact. Immigrants, both legal and non, stayed home from school and work, made no purchases and stayed out of their cars in an effort to show others what communities would be like without cooks, bakers, maids, construction workers, students and customers.

“We are not terrorists. We are hard workers, and we pay taxes,” said Margarita de Nevarez during a peaceful demonstration at Truckee River Regional Park.

The absence of such workers was perhaps most noticeable on Commercial Row, where a number of restaurants were closed for the day.

Pianeta Ristorante and Pacific Crest supported workers by giving them the day off to spend time with their families or attend demonstrations in Reno, Sacramento or Truckee.

“I support their efforts to gain legitimacy in this country,” said Pacific Crest manager Bryan Lucas, who’s father-in-law is a Swiss immigrant. “[My father-in-law] had a dream to come here, and that’s what these guys are here for. Making them a felon is not the way to go about it.”

Other restaurant owners and chefs did their best to rearrange staff and remain open.

“We managed to pull a rag-tag team together for today,” said Patrick Marsh, head chef at Piper’s Patisserie. “In my mind, you don’t just not show up to work. I think it could have been done in a more productive way than shutting down businesses.”

Lorena Lopez, a member of Piper’s kitchen staff, said she would rather show up for work and earn her rent check than protest in the hot sun. Other immigrants used the opportunity to teach their children about the legislation and standing up for their rights, and still some laid low for fear the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement would be on high alert.

“I had a tenant here tell me that she felt like a mouse in a hole, afraid to come out,” said Donner Creek Mobile Home Park property manager Maria Soto, a U.S. citizen born to immigrant parents. “Whether they are illegal or not, they are marching for something they believe in.”

Across the nation both legal and illegal immigrants emerged for protests meant to highlight their contributions to the economy. An estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants and their supporters jammed a major Los Angeles boulevard after massive protests outside City Hall. About 30,000 people took to the streets in San Francisco, and an estimated 50,000 rallied in San Jose. Rallies in Sacramento, Oakland and elsewhere drew thousands more.

South of the California-Mexico border, a protest in Tijuana blocked traffic heading north to San Diego through the San Ysidro Port of Entry, the world’s busiest border crossing.

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