May 1, 2007
From the nation's capital to New York to Chicago, organizers say they hope, but don't expect, to generate large crowds and passion in planned rallies nationwide protesting enforcement of immigration laws.
"We will shut down LA! No trabajo, no escuela," protesters shouted.
No work, no school encouraged those behind the marches. The focus is on deportation. Activists say when illegal immigrants are deported, their children, many born here as American citizens, are the ones who suffer.
"I am 15 years old. Please help us," said Teresa Mata, daughter of a deportee.
Mata says her mother was arrested and deported to Mexico after living in the United States for 20 years, and she and her four brothers were left behind.
"We can not compromise on enforcing the law simply because someone has given birth to a child in the United States," said Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security Secretary.
President Bush is poised to try to push his proposed immigration reforms through Congress again this year. The hot button issue will likely play a role in campaign rhetoric in the next Presidential election with Presidential candidates like Republican John McCain defending his position in Iowa.
"If you think you can round up 12 million and put 'em in jail, I'd be curious where you're gonna build all those institutions to hold them," said John McCain, a Presidential candidate.
Shortly after last year's rallies, immigration and customs enforcement launched "Operation Return to Sender," arresting more than 23,000 illegal immigrants. Rally organizers say fear of future raids won't deter crowds.