Immigrants march in Avon
eagle county correspondent
AVON ” Hundreds of local immigrants stayed home from work today and marched in Avon this morning on the national Day Without Immigrants.
“This will show that we’re here and that we exist,” said Ivan Hernandez, 19, of Avon.
Immigrants vowed not to buy anything, not to go to work and not to send their kids to school.
Many school-aged kids marched with the protesters, who waved American flags as they traveled a circuitous route through Avon.
“They’re not going to school so they can support the people here,” said a protester named Sergio from Avon who didn’t give his last name.
Pro-immigration protests and boycotts are taking place across the country today. The Senate is considering immigration reform after the House passed a strict bill last year that would make illegal immigrants felons.
Juan Martinez of Avon said protesters want to see just immigration reform.
“We’re not against reform,” he said. “We just feel like what’s going on now isn’t the best for immigrants.”
Martinez said some people were afraid to skip work or protest in public as illegal workers.
“But you have to overcome fear to help the rest of the community,” he said.
“Yes we can!” the marchers chanted in Spanish. They also chanted, “A united people cannot be defeated” and “A quiet people cannot be heard.”
One placard read, “Immigrants come, reaching for the American Dream, through hard work and respect of this country.”
Michelle Willyard, project engineer for Shaw Construction for the Vail Plaza Hotel construction site in Vail Village, said there are only about 90 worker on site today instead of the normal 150 due to the boycott.
The absent workers are employed by subcontractors, she said. They didn’t ask for permission from Shaw Construction to take the day off, she said.
“We all kind of understood that they wouldn’t show up,” she said.
There could be repercussions for the subcontractors if they are not able to meet construction timelines, she said.
Lisa Lopez, manager at Pazzo’s in Avon, said four immigrant employees didn’t show up for work today. One of the owners of the store was working alone in the kitchen Monday morning.
Lopez said the absent workers could lose bonuses because they didn’t come to work.
“I think they should be at work today,” she said. “They should do it on their own time.”
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