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More fears of deportation, retaliation after 'Day Without Immigrant' walkouts

Some immigrants claim they were fired for taking part in "Day without an Immigrant" marches or walkouts. Meantime a Prosser elementary teacher is now on leave for her comments on Facebook towards "illegal immigrants". (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - An elementary school teacher in Prosser, which is 40 percent Hispanic, asked her Facebook followers to report what she referred to as “illegal aliens” to Immigration and Custom Enforcement or ICE the night before last week’s “A Day Without Immigrants" protests.

Two days later, the Prosser School District put Cherise Rhode on leave, saying int a statement, "due to possible safety and security concerns, as well as concern for disruption of the school environment, this teach has been placed on administrative leave."

It’s an example Hispanic leaders say, could be an indicator of an undercurrent of resentment toward immigrants that is surfacing, in light of President Trumps proposed crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the country.

“It’s very upsetting," said Chris Megargee, Development and Communications Director for Casa Latina. The organization has developed a well-establish reputation of matching immigrant workers, including those that are undocumented, with jobs.

Casa Latina does not ask workers about their legal status in the U.S, but their office has been flooded with calls from immigrants fearing deportation.

“We’ve had reports of an increase in harassment behaviors not just on the basis of being an immigrant, but the basis of race,” said Megargee.

Rene Suazo said he was part of a group of 15 immigrants who participated in “A Day Without Immigrants” at the Schenk Packing Company in Stanwood. When the group returned to work the following day, he said he and another worker were fired over the walkout and the remaining employees were, "put on notice" that their jobs are now in jeopardy.

“They intimidated everyone,” said Suazo, who would not say if any were undocumented workers.

A man by the name of 'Carl' answered the phone on Monday, the President’s Day holiday for the plant.

He said about 25 workers stayed out of their two facilities in Stanwood and Mt. Vernon, but all but one returned back to work. He said two were fired for unrelated reasons and the rest were given ‘unexcused absences,’ but were still working for the company.

Last Thursday, a Seattle restaurant had the words ‘dirty Mexican’ spray painted on its back door. Its owner did not want to talk but, shared the photo as an example of the hate that they believe is surfacing against Hispanics.

Despite an alleged push to turn in undocumented immigrants, Megargee said Casa Latina has no plans to change its policy of ‘not’ asking the legal status of workers it assists.

“We have no plans to change our practice about asking for documentation status” says Megargee.

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