Hundreds rally for May Day in Fresno

April 30, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Hundreds of people marched through the streets of Downtown Fresno Wednesday evening, calling for immigration reform. And thousands around the country also took part in their own May Day marches.

The group called on the President and other top lawmakers to help the estimated 11 million undocumented people already in the U.S.

"I have a brother who is undocumented," said Clarita Cortes of Madera. "This immigration reform will help my brother to not be in fear anymore."

Fear is what Donna Martinez has lived with her entire life. "It affects us directly," she said. "We don't want our parents to be deported. They've produced productive members of society. All of my brothers and sisters they are going to universities."

The May First Coalition for Immigrants Rights organized this year's May Day march. It wants the government to halt deportation until an immigration reform bill is signed into law. The coalition wants illegal immigrants to know they have rights while they are here, so people like Donna's parents don't get taken advantage of while trying to become legal citizens.

"They left us in the streets because my parents paid so much money," Martinez said. "My parents had hope in this 'lawyer.' He ended up lying to us and took our money."

They rallied in Fresno and across the country this May Day. In Los Angeles thousands walked the streets of downtown. And in New York City the march stretched for as many as eight city blocks at one time. Local immigration advocates say they just want political leaders to take note.

"We hope they can see the news today or tomorrow," said coalition leader Leonel Flores. "And they can see how the people want change. Change in the immigration policy in the United States."

The group is also asking for citizenship to become affordable and that English not be a requirement. The rally comes at a crucial time as a bi-partisan group of Senators is pushing an 844 page immigration reform bill.


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