500,000 protest immigration legislation in Los Angeles Elizabeth Schultz at 10:28 AM ET
[JURIST] More than 500,000 pro-immigration activists took to the streets in Los Angeles on Saturday to protest Congressional efforts to crack down on illegal immigration [protest website]. The protest came in anticipation of Senate debate [JURIST report] on a reform bill sponsored by Majority Leader Bill Frist scheduled to begin Tuesday of this week if the US Senate Judiciary Committee does not complete its deliberations on alternative legislation Monday. The House has already passed [JURIST report] HR 4437 [text, PDF] which would impose new penalties on employers who hire illegal immigrants, make it a felony to be in the US illegally, and fund the building of fences along one-third of the US-Mexican border. President Bush devoted his weekly radio address [text; recorded audio] Saturday to immigration. Bush said US immigration laws are in need of reform but added, "America does not have to choose between being a welcoming society and being a lawful society." Bush has split with many in the Republican party by supporting a temporary worker program [JURIST report] for some undocumented workers.
There were also pro-immigration protests this weekend in Denver, Charlotte, Dallas, and Sacramento. On April 10 major protests are planned in ten cities in what is being called a "National Day of Action" by organizers. AP has more. The Los Angeles Times has local coverage.
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