ARVIN, Calif.– More than 400 Arvin residents and community leaders joined people across the nation yesterday to let America know the impact that immigrants have on the U.S. economy.
Many business owners closed down their shops and many workers did not go to work. The goal was to show the President and his supporters the impact that immigrants, whether they are from Mexico, the Middle East, or South America, have.
In Arvin, the day started at St. Thomas Catholic Church where residents gathered around the church to march to City Hall. With the Virgin Mary leading the way and an American and Mexican flag waving in the slight breeze, residents marched with signs that read “Here to Stay” and “Immigrants make America Great.”
Local business owner Abdul Alvagdiali (pictured above) was one of the speakers at City Hall and spoke about the importance of the day.
“Me and my family have been here since 1993. We own a few businesses and today is the first day in our business life that we closed down. I feel sad to close but I had to decide between my business or my family.”
“I came here today to support all the farmworkers because without farmworkers, California wouldn’t be California,” he continued.
Even as the rain started falling, Arvin residents marched. Silvia Cardoso was among the crowd.
“I came here to support my community and all of the farmworkers. We need access to health care in our schools for our children. We want to feel safe when we go work in the fields, and not fear that we will get deported and get separated from our families.”
Asalea Rosales made the tough decision to miss school because the Trump Administration poses a distinct threat to the immigrant community.
“I came here today, despite having school, to fight for not only my rights but others’ rights. How would Trump feel if he was being treated like immigrants are being treated? I think it’s important to participate in my community because we are a community and we need our workers to provide for our families and our families to provide for us.”
Eliana Duran echoed the feeling that the community support is what brought her out to march.
“What brought me here today is the amount of support that our community needs, it motivated me to come out and speak out for those who are scared and need comfort. I think it’s important to show our support for not only Hispanics but for everyone else in the community,” she said.
Arvin residents said they plan on protesting and marching until their city council and the rest of America recognizes that immigrants are humans too.