On the day President Donald Trump announced plans to issue a new immigration order, immigrants and their advocates made it clear how they feel about the current political climate.
Students stayed at home from school and businesses were closed in support of “A Day Without Immigrants,” though some of those supporting the movement suggested that it would not make much of a difference.
“I don’t think Trump is going to care,” said Gabriel Esparza of Haltom City. “It is not going to change anything.”
Esparza had showed up Thursday morning at the always bustling El Rancho Supermarket on the Fort Worth-Haltom City border, only to find the store closed.
Thousands participated the movement — deemed #undiasininmigrantes on social media — across the nation, from New York to Austin, determined to show solidarity and the crucial role they play in the economy.
Though not widely publicized in North Texas, there were ripples of dissent.
Attendance was at 82 percent at Fort Worth district elementary schools, compared with 95 percent Wednesday, though officials would not say how much of the drop, if any, was related to the protest. At Rosemont Middle School, which is 93 percent Hispanic, 269 students missed school. The school has about 900 students.
About 400 students at Molina High School in Dallas walked out of class in support of the movement, according to a tweet from Dallas school board member Miguel Solis.
“Words and actions have consequences, @realDonaldTrump,” Solis tweeted.
In the Castleberry school district, which is 77 percent Hispanic, overall attendance was down 10 percent, about 5 percent above normal, Superintendent John Ramos said.
Ramos said he believed the protest and a flu outbreak could have contributed to drop in attendance.
But he also said that students and their families know that schools are safe places to be.
“We are going to make sure kids are protected,” Ramos said of the school district that includes River Oaks, Sansom Park and part of Fort Worth.
Arlington schools said attendance was at 88 percent, compared with 95 percent for the same date last year.
The Hurst-Euless-Bedford district reported absences were slightly higher than normal, noting they have documented a number of flu and strep cases.
The Birdville school district, which includes North Richland Hills and Haltom City, said attendance was down about 4 percent.
Along Belknap Street in Haltom City, where immigrants from Asia and Latin America live, work and shop, there appeared to be less traffic than usual. Some businesses were closed, but more were open.
The strike was a topic of discussion among senior citizens who eat and visit at a recreation center near Diamond Hill-Jarvis High School in Fort Worth. Seniors disagreed about the effectiveness of the strike, immigration policy and their new president.
Mary Aguirre, 81, said people need to come together to help those new to the United States.
“I love my country and I love my people from Mexico,” Aguirre said.
The movement was intended to show the importance of immigrants to the economy and life in the United States.
“Hispanics work hard,” Maria Gallardo de Garcia of Keller said.
Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with comments, with some suggesting that many of those protesting are here illegally, and others saying that those who missed work should be fired.
Diane A. Smith: 817-390-7675, @dianeasmith1
Azia Branson: 817-390-7547, @aziabranson