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SAN DIEGO – Hundreds of San Diegans gathered for a march through downtown to Chicano Park celebrating International Workers Day. The group congregated at the Civic Center Plaza for a rally then marked to the Federal Courthouse before ending in Barrio Logan.
“I believe everyone deserves the right to work,” said Denasia Gaines.
International Workers Day is recognized as a holiday in many countries. It started in the 1800’s in Chicago when workers fought for an eight hour work day.
“Things have gotten better,” said Sandy Naranjo. “But we still have to fight for basic rights.”
People carried flags and held banners supporting employment rights and immigration reform.
“They want a path to citizenship,” said immigration advocate Pedro Rios. “We want to make sure there’s labor protection in their work place and their rights are respected.
The march comes as President Obama plans a trip to Mexico on May 2nd to discuss the economy and security.
One man named Gilbert didn’t want to share his last name, but told Fox 5 News he and his wife have been undocumented for more than 16 years. He attended the rally with his three children.
“It’s hard for my parents to go to work. I’m afraid I’d have to sustain my brother and sister and drop out of college if they ever got deported,” his daughter said.
“Everyone at one time was an immigrant in this country,” said Gilbert.
Once in Chicano Park, the crowd was greeted by dozens of supporters. They chanted, cheered, and listened to various speakers.
While this group supports immigration reform, critics argue illegal and undocumented workers should be deported. They also stress for tighter security at the border.