"A Day Without Immigrants" on Delmarva - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

"A Day Without Immigrants" on Delmarva

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GEORGETOWN, Del. - Nine-year-old Yahir Hernandez-Martinez goes to Phillis Wheatley Elementary School in Bridgeville, but he wasn't there on Thursday. He was one of the many students across Sussex County who stayed home as part of the "Day Without Immigrants" protests happening nation wide.

"A lot of people were talking about it at my school," he says.

His mother said she felt his participation was a way for him to use his voice. 

"I think it's important because we are Spanish," she says. "We help." 

Absences like Yahir's were seen across the county. In the Indian River School District, 27 percent of the district's students were absent Thursday. On a normal day, only 5 percent are absent. Additionally, at North Georgetown Elementary School-where 61 percent of the students are Hispanic--only 47 percent of students were present today.

The goal of the protest is to show immigrants' economic impact across the country. Immigrants were encouraged to stay home from work, school, and not shop or eat out. Many businesses closed as well. Two restaurants in downtown Georgetown--Chilmole and Jalapeño--closed because of the boycott. Jalapeño's official Facebook page states (in Spanish, translated to English here) "We have to do what we can to show that without immigrants, this country is nothing."

Gabriella Barrios is the manager of the El Mercado market in Georgetown and was forced to close when so many of her employees said they would be staying home.

"I think it is hurting business," she tells WBOC. "But then again, they're expressing how they feel and we support that."

In Maryland, Plaza Tapatia in Salisbury was open for business, but manager Carlos Ramirez was not working as a show of solidarity for others.

"I'm a legal born citizen, but I feel like we're always getting targeted," he says. "It's a daily thing but now it's getting a little worse." 

A spokesman for Perdue Farms told WBOC there were more absences than usual on their Eastern Shore plants, but it did not stop them from running operations normally.

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