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Irwin Thompson - The Dallas Morning News

Nationwide "A Day Without Immigrants" affects Denton

A few local predominately Hispanic businesses closed Thursday as part of "A Day Without Immigrants," a nationwide protest that aims to underline the importance of immigrants in U.S. cities.

Around the country, protesters have stayed home from work and school, while local restaurants and shops have closed in solidarity with immigrants. In Denton, both La Azteca Meat Market stores closed for the day as part of the movement, co-owner Juan Ortega said. The stores are located at 619 E. Sherman Drive and 268 S. Interstate 35E.

"I'm in support of the immigrant community, which has a large population of not only Hispanics but all kinds of races," Ortega said.

Ortega added that he discussed the closures with the company's corporate office. The company announced Wednesday night on its Facebook page that all locations would be closed for the protests.

Tortilleria La Sabrocita, normally open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., was also closed for the day. A sign posted on the business' front door read, "Cerrado 16 De Feb. Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes," which translates to "Closed Feb. 16. A Day Without Immigrants."

It's still unclear how much the protests have impacted student attendance in Denton ISD. An employee at Rivera Elementary School, who requested not to be identified, said four to seven kids were reported absent in bilingual classes for kindergartners, second-graders and third-graders. For each of those grade levels, the school offers two bilingual classes, which usually consist of about 15 to 18 students in each class, the employee said.

The employee said some students were absent from a first-grade bilingual class. But the employee did not know the specific reason for any of the absences.

— Staff report