Portland businesses participate in ‘Day Without Immigrants’ - KPTV - FOX 12

Portland businesses participate in ‘Day Without Immigrants’

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Several Portland-area businesses took part in the national “Day Without Immigrants” protests by donating money to immigrant charities or closing down entirely Thursday.

Lisa Schroeder, the owner of Mother’s Bistro in Portland, decided to stay open, but she’s matching the money made by her immigrant employees Thursday and donating it to Causa Oregon, a local immigrant rights group.

Her immigrant employees and others in Portland say they want people to know they contribute to this country every day, and that the lives of many Americans would change without them.

Edin Perez came to the United States from Guatemala 13 years ago, escaping violence and extreme poverty.

He works at Mother’s Bistro, and he did come in Thursday, even though he supports the protest and says its goal is to send America and the government a message.

“I think we all support each other.  That’s why we’re doing this thing,” Perez said. “We have to show, like, a lot of people how important we are in America, how we support America, like how we work hard.”

Last year, Schroeder helped Perez get out of jail when Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents detained him for five weeks, having mistaken him for someone else. She and Perez want the community and the president to know that immigrants only want what everyone wants.

“This country was built on the back of immigrants, so to me, this is just ludicrous that wouldn’t welcome in our country,” Schroder said. “This is what we are, this is who we are, and I just need to show that to my staff that they are just important as any other member of Mother’s family.”

Several Portland-area businesses closed down in protest.

At Revolucion Coffee House in southwest Portland, customers left thank-you notes.  Owner Maria Garcia wrote on Facebook that she is a Mexican-born, naturalized U.S. citizen and that she is standing up for her roots and her values.

The owner of DU’s Grill in northeast also posted a sign saying he closed in solidarity with his immigrant workers. Pok Pok Portland owner Andy Ricker said he has decided to donate part of the proceeds made on Saturday and Sunday to the American Civil Liberties Union in support “for our immigrant brothers and sisters.”

Perez says that at the end of the day, it is about working hard and helping each other.

“We are here to work hard, so support a family, to be safe.  And to pretty much make America great.”

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