Police: Immigration rally in Dallas draws 25,000

Print
Email
|

WFAA and Associated Press

Posted on April 30, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Updated Sunday, May 2 at 4:32 PM

DALLAS -- Police estimate some 25,000 people marched from the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe to City Hall on Saturday to rally support for reforming immigration laws.

Counter protesters gathered at City Hall numbered around 200. The march was largely peaceful and no arrests were reported.

The crowd appeared to be far short of the 300,000 who turned out for the 2006 march.

At the head of the march was Bishop Kevin J. Farrell of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas, flanked by state Sen. Royce West and former city councilman Domingo Garcia.

Large crowds gathered in Dallas after a new Arizona law passed requiring authorities to question people about their immigration status if they are suspected of being in the country illegally.

About a dozen people carried signs depicting Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer as a Nazi. Organizers of the Saturday march asked sign holders to discard the placards.

This rally was planned for more than a month but the Arizona law appeared to re-energized protesters.

Texas state lawmakers are considering similar legislation.

Protesters called for a legalization program for thousands of undocumented immigrants.

In the crowd, was a college student from Texas Tech, in his cap and gown.

Ramiro Luna will graduate next year but his dream ends there.

He can't get a job because he's an illegal immigrant.

"I know I am going to see a struggle with the fact that I will earn a degree. It's gonna degrade that I can't even utilize that... It's going to be bad news but I am not going to give up," he said.

His story is one Dallas school counselor, Coty Rodriguez, sees everyday.

"I see these children. They have been raised here. They are Americans at heart," she said.

She's fighting to keep their dreams alive.

"We know this is the right thing to do. I'm with the kids and for the parents. We don't want the families to be separated," she said.

"They don't have their family here. They need our support, the ones that do have papers, to support them, back them up," she added.

As well as the immigration march and a counter demonstration, the annual Asian festival, church events and even a demonstration for pot smoking were all taking place downtown.

DART operated on a rush hour schedule with double car trains running every 10 minutes instead of the usual 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, many DART bus routes downtown faced detours.

Brad Watson, Monika Diaz, Jonathan Betz and Associated Press contributed to this report.

Print
Email
|