WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Thousands of immigrants across the nation protested President Trump’s immigration crackdown and travel ban by showing the country what a “Day Without Immigrants” is like.
Business owners in Middle Georgia took part in the day by closing their businesses. Karel Caride Holt was one of those.
“This is not just about a political situation, this is about people,” said Caride. “We need to raise our voices and say, ‘hey we are here’.”
Caride closed her business, Georgia State Auto Insurance in Warner Robins, to show that her work in the United States matters.
“We come here to do something good and wonderful in this country,” said Caride. “We want America great too.”
Caride immigrated from Panama to the United States 16 years ago.
“It’s not easy, coming from one culture to another culture,” Caride said. “It’s hard.”
She remembers being homeless but continued to work. After facing many struggles and overcoming obstacles, she now owns two businesses.
“We come to help,” said Caride. “We don’t come here to destroy this country.”
That’s the way Daniela Pacheco feels as well. She was born in the United States but comes from a family of immigrants. Pacheco decided to take part in the protest by closing her family’s hair salon, Rumors, in Centerville. Pacheco says without immigrants, her business wouldn’t have any business at all.
“They’re 99 percent of our clients,” said Pacheco. “They are Hispanic, they’re immigrants. Whether they be here illegally or legally, in order for our business to grow, we need them.”
A business that did not participate in “Day without Immigrants” was El Bronco Mexican Restaurant in Warner Robins.
The owner couldn’t speak on camera, but told 41NBC the restaurant is in full support of the protest. However, when they reached out to other restaurants in the area and realized they were going to open, El Bronco did the same thing.
No matter what business stayed open or not, they just all want the same thing. To stand alongside immigrants and have their voices heard.
“Look at me, I’m a good example,” said Caride. “I did my best and I’m here.”
Others who participated in the day, didn’t send their children to school or took it to the streets to protest.