Carson City simmers after immigration rally |

Carson City simmers after immigration rally

CARSON CITY – Salomon Mendoza knew he would lose money when he closed his Mexican restaurant Monday to protest proposed immigration reform.

He just didn’t know how it would hurt him to lose an angry American customer.

“She asked if I would be open and I said ‘no,’ then she said she’d never come back here,” the owner of Las Palmitas restaurant said Tuesday. He blinked back tears and placed his hand on his heart. Mendoza’s Carson City restaurant has been his labor of love for about two years. It hurts to lose a customer.

But this cause was too dear. Mendoza estimated that he lost from $600 to $700 by shuttering Monday. Customers came to his door looking for tacos and were disappointed.

“I knew about it, but it didn’t click that it was going to affect us,” said Bonnie DeBraga, a customer who came back Tuesday.

Mendoza couldn’t afford not to close.

“No work. Losing money. But I wanted to support the protesting,” he said.

Grocery Outlet owner Dave Cox estimated that his business went down 15 percent Monday without their regular Hispanic customers.

Jaqueline Cruz, manager of El Torito supermarket, 308 E. Winnie Lane, said she lost $2,000 to $3,000, but would do it again.

“The Hispanic community supports me and they deserve that I support them back,” she said.

The country’s largest retailer fared well in Carson City. Wal-Mart store manager Scott Yoder said only two employees called in to say they wouldn’t be at work.

“It didn’t cause any problem concerning our work force,” he said. “We didn’t really see a change in what our normal Monday sales would be.”

Others shared their opinion by writing profanity on the windows of several Hispanic businesses, including Elvira Diaz’s bakery.

Diaz, who moved to Carson City 10 months ago from Costa Mesa, said she left the profanity on her windows to make a statement of her own.

More than 1 million illegal immigrants and their supporters took to America’s streets Monday, according to The Associated Press. They were absent from work and kept children home from school. Hispanic business owners and their supporters closed for business.

On the “Day Without Immigrants,” held on the Mexican holiday celebrating workers’ rights, protesters boycotted all consumer goods and attended rallies held in nearly every city across the country. The Carson City rally was expected to attract 200 people. About 1,000 people attended, wearing white shirts symbolizing peace, an organizer said.

“We had families with children, business owners came and rallied,” said Leticia Servin, president of the Latino Parents Committee of Carson City. “No incidents occurred, but someone who was for the new law were standing next to us and they were asked to move to the side.”

The Hispanic organizations had a permit to protest at the Legislature. Those supporting House Resolution 4437 did not.

The House resolution, which passed in December, would make illegal immigration a felony offense – punishable by jail time. It’s a civil offense now. The legislation approves high-tech monitoring equipment at the border and more border agents.

In March, the Senate Judiciary Committee supported a proposal that would put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, rather than making them felons. It supported many of the same proposals as the House bill, such as tougher border security, while also making it harder for businesses to employ undocumented workers. Senate legislation is stalled in the chamber.

Sierra Bakery, 1966 Highway 50 East, was one of five businesses in the Scolari’s shopping center marked by vandals carrying bars of soap rather than cans of spray paint.

Diaz, the bakery owner, wrote a sign asking for passers-by to pray for the vandals. Thursday is the 2006 National Day of Prayer.

“This gives me a bad taste,” she said. “I hope this hating doesn’t grow, because it’s not good for society.”

She can take comfort in one thing – the vandals don’t know their legislation. It said “America needs 437.”

The House Resolution is 4437.

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