Fresno farm workers protest immigration laws

FRESNO, Calif.

The United Farm Workers March kicked off in Southeast Fresno.

Crowds gathered in the backyard of this church to celebrate Palm Sunday. But, many here like Rafael Marquez prayed for a pathway to citizenship. "It's very difficult because we have to kind of live in the shadows even though we work, we are lucky to work but we are not completely comfortable because we know we are not protected by the law," said Marquez.

The Fresno farm worker picks peaches plums and grapes but doesn't have the proper papers to work in the United States. Marquez says he lives with the fear of being deported but he's hoping this grassroots effort of thousands of undocumented workers will make a difference.

"We are here because we want immigration reform, we want the president to know we have suffered a lot in this country because we are not documented," said Marquez.

As part of his second term, the President is making it a top priority to pave a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented immigrants. The United Farm Workers of America are applauding his efforts. "About 70 percent or 80 percent of the farm workers here in our Ag industries are undocumented. So the workers are here and we need to have a path for them to have citizenship, which doesn't exist right now," said Armando Elenes with the United Farm Workers.

But many Republicans say the path to citizenship is simply amnesty for lawbreakers.

Similar marches took place in other cities today including Bakersfield and Santa Rosa. Organizers say in addition to raising awareness about immigration they also held the rally to honor the legacy of Cesar Chavez.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.