San Diego Businesses Stand in Solidarity With ‘Day Without Immigrants'

A number of San Diego businesses closed up shop on Thursday in solidarity with the nationwide “Day Without Immigrants” protests.

In North Park, a chiropractor’s office was noticeably shuttered, as was a café.

But compared to the movement in other major U.S. cities, the protests in San Diego were small and not felt at a large scale.

Angel Ochoa, the owner of LGBT Chiropractic in North Park, said he felt a responsiblity to shut down, given the tension surrounding the immigration debate.

"I just can't really understand this concept of not accepting immigrants to a country of immigrants, so as a result to be in solidarity with my brothers and sisters who are immigrants as well, I decided that it was important for me to honor the cause," he said.

Ochoa was born in Mexico City, but he’s been living in San Diego since the age of 5. His father, who lives in Mexico City, told him about the boycott.

On average, Ochoa says he meets with about 30 patients a day. He shuffled his schedule around to change people’s appointments and not book anyone on Thursday.

“I want to let society know that, as immigrants we have a wide variety of jobs,” says Ochoa. “I’m a doctor, we have immigrants who are pilots, attorneys and all kinds of careers. There are immigrants from all walks of life.

NBC 7 spoke to several local residents and business owners. Some had no idea it was intended to be a day of protests.

Chris Herrera helps run ‘El Comal’ Restaurant in North Park. He says he supports the movement, but had no idea it was on Thursday.

“I would have closed down, at the very least for a few hours to show my support,” said Herrera. “I didn’t really know about it.”

Other people said they want immigrants to "follow the rules."

"Immigration is fine as long as its legal and everyone follows the rules," said local resident Paul Hokenson. "I'm all for it."

San Diego resident John Taylor questioned the impact of a one day boycott.

“It's not going to make any difference, but at least somebody is thinking about it,” said Taylor. “They need to take a week off, then people will notice it, because after a week your whole routine is messed up.”

The movement was intended to show how important immigrants are to America's economy and its way of life, and many businesses with immigrant owners and workers closed in solidarity.

The protests even reached the Pentagon in Washington D.C., where a number of fast food joints were among the shops that stayed closed.

The protests were in response to President Trump’s immigration policies and statements, such as plans to build a wall on the southern border of the U.S. as well as his plans for increased deportation.

In San Diego, a rally was planned for Chicano Park in Barrio Logan for 6 p.m. Thursday. A Facebook event showed that just shy of 70 people planned to attend and another 80 people were interested in attending.

Also, a teacher from Borrego Springs High School reports that about 100 students didn't show up to class day in solidarity with the protests.

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