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'A Day Without Immigrants' sees little involvement in Lane County

(KMTR image)

EUGENE, Ore. – Most immigrants in Lane County skipped "immigration skip day."

In response to the President's stance on immigration, immigrants across the country ditched work and school on Thursday hoping to show how important their community is to the US economy and way of life.

The so-called 'A Day Without Immigrants' started as a grassroots campaign.

In Washington D.C. some restaurants closed and protesters holding banners and posters marched through the city hoping to influence change in immigration policies.

But in Lane County, there was no heavy involvement.

NBC 16 reached out to several businesses with immigrant staff members. They said everyone reported to work.

One immigrant restaurant owner wasn’t even aware of the movement.

"It's the first time I’ve heard about it, and I don't believe my staff members know about it because no one told me about it,” said John Li, owner of Spice and Steam Restaurant.

Li says he came to America when he was 15 for a good education.

He says he thinks A Day Without Immigrants just doesn't make sense; rather than a protest, he wants to see a holiday celebrating immigrants.

"It's nice to have a day to remember that we came here; what are the reasons, what are the purposes, like, coming to America to achieve the dream,” said Li.

Just like Li’s restaurant, schools reported no significant difference in attendance.

University of Oregon officials said there was no organized protests.

Junction City High School principal Malcom Mcrae said student attendance there was similar to any normal day.

“We're not having a rush of absences from Latino students or other racial or ethnic minorities,” said Mcrae.

Mcrae said he believes a few students did participate, and the school is willing to work with them on excusing their absence.

“We try really hard not to be an institution of intolerance,” said Mcrae.

Mcrae said on any regular school day, if a student misses one or more class periods, the school is required, by state law, to call and notify parents.

Those phone calls are how the school knows the reason for student absences on Thursday.

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