Tri-Cities business owners meet to discuss 'A Day Without Immigrants' in downtown Pasco

The streets of downtown Pasco were quiet Thursday afternoon with “Closed” signs in nearly every shop window.

Dozens of Latino business owners and community members crowded around tables at local restaurant Taqueria Mexico to discuss “A Day Without Immigrants,” nationwide protest meant to demonstrate immigrants’ value to American society.

The protest comes in the wake President Donald Trump’s executive order to increase deportations of illegal immigrants.

“We want our president to understand that he is our public servant,” said Ana Ruiz Peralta, a local insurance agent. She also said she wants to encourage the Latino community to stand strong and not be intimidated.

Anides Guerena, owner of Accounting Management Solutions, said the protest sends a powerful message to the state, which lost thousands in sales tax.

He estimated the business owners at Thursday’s meeting alone lost a total of $100,000 in sales because of the protest. He added that the state lost roughly 10 percent of that amount.

Andy Ramirez, owner of Guadalajara wiresless and Salon Monte Carlo in Pasco, said closing down all day Thursday hurt, especially since business has already been slower because of the severe winter conditions the area has felt this year.

Sending a strong message was worth it, he said. Ramirez and all his employees, all of whom are Mexican, fully supported closing shop, he added.

Several of the business owners at the meeting said they would be prepared to do it all over again.