1,500 March for Immigrant Rights

May 2, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of people marched through downtown Fresno Thursday demanding rights for immigrants. They joined thousands of others who did the same thing throughout the country, marching on May Day.Marchers appealed to politicians as they made their way through downtown Fresno Thursday afternoon, waving Mexican and American Flags. They want immigrants to have a pathway to citizenship. "They have to hide, basically live in the shadows. And for what? They're not doing anything wrong," demonstrator Lorenzo Ledzma said.

For many in the crowd, the fight is personal. Either they or someone they know got into America illegally. Demonstrator Rafaela Castro said, "My mom, she's a hardworking person. We've worked out in the fields. It's hard working out in the fields."

Maria Arteaga said she was marching with the hope that immigration raids would stop separating families. "You're living in America and knowing that anyone in your family could be deported. It's going to hurt and its going to tear your family apart," said Arteaga.

Thursday's crowd was smaller than organizers expected and a far cry from the 15,000 who gathered in front of city hall two years ago with the same demands. Still, organizers called the latest march a success, because some of the demonstrators registered to vote. Organizer Leonel Flores said even those can't participate in the election can make a difference. "If they send this message to the voters, maybe they will change their minds to vote on November for a president that supports immigration," said Flores.

Organizers say the economy may be one of the reasons more people didn't show up at Thursday's rally. They said with times the way they are, many just can't afford to miss work.


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