[JURIST] Thousands of protesters rallied in cities across the United States Tuesday for more relaxed immigration [JURIST news archive] laws and facilitated routes to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Marchers took to the streets in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Washington DC, and elsewhere but organizers said the range of activities marking May 1 showed the strength and diversity of the movement. Organizers said beforehand they expected this year's turnout to be lower than the 1 million people who took to the streets to protest immigration restrictions last May 1 [JURIST report] because increased Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) [official website] raids in recent months have frightened many immigrants out of speaking in public.
In March, the White House floated a new immigration reform proposal [PDF text] that would grant illegal immigrants three-year work visas for $3,500 but would also force them to return home to apply for US residency and pay a $10,000 fine. Immigration groups have criticized the bill as unrealistic because the imposed fine is considerably more than most illegal human smugglers charge for entry into the United States. In April, protesters marched in Los Angeles [JURIST report] to oppose the plan. AP has more.