DES MOINES, Iowa – All over the country this week, Latino communities are protesting the Trump Administration’s proposed border wall and crackdown on illegal immigration.
The “Day Without Immigrants” calls on Latino communities – including the one here in Des Moines – to close their businesses, keep their kids home from schools, and not buy anything from stores for a whole day on Thursday. Local business leaders in the Latino community – even though legal citizens themselves – are behind the idea.
“I support 100% my community,” said Juan Rodriguez, who owns four businesses in Des Moines. “I know there’s bad people, also, but every community has bad people. But most of my people, my community, are good people; hard workers.”
Rodriguez came to the U.S. in 2003 from Colombia. He’s a U.S. citizen now, and owns multiple businesses in Des Moines. He says the idea of this silent protest is to show the community what it feels like without immigrants.
“I ask the American community to learn more about how we live in our countries, what is the problem in our countries,” he said. “And, not everybody who comes here without documents is bad people.”
Rodriguez says he knows many undocumented immigrants; he says they pay taxes, have mortgages, work at local businesses, and perhaps even own their own. A mass deportation, he says, would be destructive to society.
“The economy is going to start slowing down,” he said. “It’s going to effect a lot of the economy.”