The annual nationwide rally to promote workers rights swelled in size Saturday as tens of thousands of people in cities across the country took to the streets to protest Arizona’s crackdown on illegal immigration and to call for a national policy overhaul.
“Si se puede,” was the chant in Milwaukee, Ann Arbor, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. An estimated 6,500 marched in New York, 8,000 in Chicago, 20,000 in Dallas and 50,000 in Los Angeles.
Carmen Regalado, 38, waved a Cuban flag as she stood along the south lawn of the state Capitol with more than 1,000 others. The Rocklin resident was born in the U.S. after her parents fled the island in the 1960s after Fidel Castro seized power.
She said she felt compelled to forgo her usual Saturday morning of gardening to join the chorus after Arizona passed a law requiring police to question people they suspect of being illegal immigrants. Supporters of the law, including Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, say the state had to act because the federal government has failed in securing the country’s borders.
“It’s disappointing that this is happening in 2010,” said Regalado, who teaches about the Civil War and Chicano movement as part of her high school U.S. history course in Elk Grove. “This nation was founded on immigrants.”