Lowcountry businesses protest as part of 'Day Without Immigrants - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Lowcountry businesses protest as part of 'Day Without Immigrants Campaign'

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
BLUFFTON, SC (WTOC) -

Immigrants across the country are on strike in response to recent ICE arrests and raids, including right here in our own area. 

Earlier this week, we told you 11 people in Beaufort County had been arrested, and there was a sense of fear and paranoia in the Hispanic and Latino communities. 

Some businesses in the Lowcountry were closed on Thursday out of respect for the majority of their workers, who are immigrants. They made their presence known with a peace march. Their message: "We are American too." It's part of the Day Without Immigrants Campaign, where immigrants are encouraged to close businesses, not show up for work, and even keep their children home from school, to show the impact their absence would have on today's society.  

In Jasper County, 56 percent of Hispanic students were not in school Thursday.

Of the 773 Hispanic students in the county, 433 were absent Thursday.

"I do understand for a lot of people this is very frightening. And we want to ensure that our student population. not just Hispanic students but all students regardless of their race, regardless of their sexual orientation, their gender, that we love them all and we want to put them in a position to be able to be productive,” said Jasper County Superintendent Donald Andrews.

Andrews says he is instructing teachers to allow students to make up the work and count it as an excused absence.

An insurance agency in Bluffton closed its doors, as well as a daycare center, and the communities took to the streets to show their support. 

"We're not here to take the job. Americans say were here to take their jobs; we are here to make our jobs. We contribute to the economy; we are working hard people and we are here just to have a better life for our kids," said Nomei Baca, who has lived in Bluffton for 15 years. 

An immigration attorney says the recent ICE arrests were only of criminals, however, a lot of people are concerned about what that definition means. 

One-hundred-ninety people were arrested between North Carolina and Georgia. 

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