Locals Protest Immigration Reform

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

May 1, 2006

Thousands of people Nationwide are protesting today against immigration reform, including right here in Charlottesville.

At the Albemarle County Office Building, Hispanics banded together for a rally supporting the protests.

The sign says it all - closed. That was the case for quite a few Hispanic-owned businesses today in the Charlottesville area.

"We're not in agreement with all the different laws they're trying to pass and this is our way of showing unity within the Hispanic community," said business owner, Fernando Garay.

Jaidy Polania's business will lose about $2,500 today. However, she says it's okay. The issue is important, because some Americans just don't understand.

"People have the wrong idea. That we do not pay taxes, that we come to take other people's jobs and that's not true. We all pay taxes. We all work hard, and we all want to be part of America," said store manager, Jaidy Polania.

Others however decided to keep their doors open, saying it's out of their hands.

"It's everything about the president and the White House, Senators and the government. There's nothing I can do about it," said restaurant manager, Ana Garcia.

But it was more than businesses shutting down. Over at Snow's Garden Center, trucks that are usually driven by Hispanic employees sat empty. Over a dozen people there didn't show up, most of their Latin work force.

"It does put a crimp in getting things done. But we're making the adjustments that we need to to try and keep everything rolling as best we can," said operations manager with Snow's, Norm Carlson.

While it is one day, Hispanics hope it does send a message, loud and clear.

"We need change. It's our time for change. We're just together and we hope that this makes a statement all throughout the country," said Garay.

The rally organized by the Church of the Incarnation was held in front of the Albemarle County Office Building until 8 p.m.

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