In the shadow of city hall, a few hundred protestors gathered in Kansas City Thursday morning with a message for the 45th president and the nation.
"We are not criminals," explained Reyna Cabajal, a Kansas City, Missouri resident who hails from Mexico. "We are immigrants, we are people who work, people who are decent and honest. The only thing we want is to share in the jobs that the United States offers."
The Day Without Immigrants protest comes after immigration and customs enforcement agents alarmed immigrant rights advocates by arresting some 680 people in raids across the U.S. last week.
"If something is against your morals, whether it affects you directly or not, you should stand up with everyone else with it," said Tina Kohn, who is originally from the Ivory Coast but lives in Kansas City, Mo. "This is a time for everyone to come together and stand up for what they believe."
The Day Without Immigrants movement is a response to the president's immigration police which includes a pledge to seal up the U.S. - Mexico border as well as a travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.
"It makes me feel really good to see every race, every culture, from everywhere to come here an unite," said Kansas City, Kansas resident Jimmy Gonzalez. While he was born and raised in America, his parents are immigrants from Mexico. "Everyone has been an immigrant at one point."
While the reasons for protesting were different, their collective message was the same -- that by taking a day off from school and work, they can highlight everything immigrants bring to our country.
KCK schools told 41 Action News they saw a higher-than-normal number of absences today, especially in their immigrant communities.
While the protest was mostly peaceful, Kansas City police did arrest three people - one for spitting on an officer, one for trying to intervene in the arrest of the person who spit on the officer and one for standing in the street.