Hundreds march in South Shore in support of immigrants |

Hundreds march in South Shore in support of immigrants

By Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily TribuneHundreds gathered in South Lake Tahoe on Monday evening to support immigrants, and protest proposed federal regulations on illegal immigration.

A processsion of about 700 mostly Hispanic protestors stretched four blocks along Highway 50 from Ski Run Boulevard to the casino corridor Monday evening to march in support of immigrants’ rights.

Marchers carried signs and chanted: “Si se puede,” which means “you can do it” to mark South Lake Tahoe’s recognition of a “Day Without Immigrants” that brought out hundreds of thousands nationwide. Motorists on Highway 50 honked as they drove by the large group, which stepped into the slow lane occasionally.

The “Day Without Immigrants” may been most visible at South Lake Tahoe schools.

With 652 absences reported, the Lake Tahoe Unified School District lost almost $20,000 in revenue Monday, a protest day marked to recognize immigrants across the nation.

At a rate of $28.82 per student, the school district lost $18,790 in reimbursements in one day. South Tahoe High School counted 184 absences, South Tahoe Middle School ” 233 and Tahoe Valley Elementary ” 35. The schools get occasional absences every day, but Monday’s absences were presumably a sign of defiance over federal immigration proposals, Superintendent Jim Tarwater pointed out.

Of the four schools with significant absences, over a third of Bijou Elementary School students failed to show up to class. Many of the estimated quarter of the 23,609 residents in South Lake Tahoe population that are Hispanic live in the Bijou area.

Monday’s boycott appeared to have more of an effect on the schools and the streets than business operations. A recent study figures 60 percent of Hispanic workers occupy service jobs, the backbone of the tourism economy.

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe reported no unexcused absences from its employees. Spokesman John Packer said 15 workers in the housekeeping departments were absent Monday, but they were arranged in advance.

Embassy Suites had 100 percent attendance at its hotel near Stateline.

Along with South Lake Tahoe’s contingent, hundreds of thousands of people across the United States object to the federal government’s proposed policies affecting more than 11 million people.

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