As part of 'A Day Without Immigrants,' dozens of local businesses closed Thursday. Several business owners are standing behind their workers, even if it costs them work and money.
"They're just like you and me, they're here to feed their families and work hard, and they're kind hearted and they don't deserve to be canvassed and taken from their job sites,” said Amy Teykl, president of ATX Construction Clean.
Her crews clean up after commercial contractors.
"About 90 percent of my crew is not working today,” said Teykl.
She supports her employees who participated in the 'A Day Without Immigrants' protest.
"I said I support you 100 percent, no one will be losing their jobs," said Teykl. "I want to be the voice for the people that are scared to leave their homes right now.”
Teykl said it’s the same story with several contractors, saying immigrants make up about 85 percent of the construction industry workforce.
"Most job sites today look like a ghost town, and I hope that it's a wakeup call," said Teykl. "They're scared to go to work, they're being canvassed at check cashing places, at job sites, while they're at work they're actually being picked up."
Immigration lawyers recommend immigrants carry status documentation with them. Teykl said she has seen why.
"As they go out to the dumpster, or they leave the job site, they asked for their papers and if they don't have them, then they'll arrest them even if they are documented,” said Teykl.
Now she wants people to know immigrants are vital to the U.S., and to Texas.
"I think people need to realize that they're a huge part of the way our economy works," said Teykl.
She said she still plans to pay her employees part of their day’s salary.
"Almost 100 percent of any of the immigrants I know and work with are contributing members of society and they are paying taxes and they're doing the jobs that most people don't want to necessarily do," said Teykl.
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