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Immigrants Protest Across U.S.

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants protested across the United States in response to congressional battles over immigration reform. Correspondents from Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. report on the protests and workplace boycotts.

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  • JEFFREY KAYE, Reporter, KCET:

    Walking away from their jobs and classrooms, thousands of people, many waving American flags, gathered on the streets of Los Angeles today. Among them, hotel worker Victoria Vergara.

  • VICTORIA VERGARA, Hotel Worker (through translator):

    We are not criminal; we are workers. We contribute to this country, and it's only fair that they legalize those who don't have documents.

  • JEFFREY KAYE:

    Vergara and other demonstrators were galvanized by proposed federal legislation that would make illegal immigration a crime. By withholding their labor and their buying power, protestors hoped to showcase the economic clout of illegal immigrants, who comprise an estimated 15 percent of the L.A. labor force.

    The first economic effects of the May Day boycott were seen early this morning in downtown Los Angeles. A wholesale produce market, normally bustling with activity, was all but deserted. Stalls were closed, and trucks were at a standstill.

    Have you ever seen it like this?

  • RUBEN CALDERON, Produce Manager:

    No, never, not even on Sundays.

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