Video: Immigration debate hits the streets

updated 9/4/2006 9:55:00 PM ET 2006-09-05T01:55:00

Waving banners and chanting for equality and justice, hundreds of people marched through downtown Houston and Dallas on Monday, pledging to continue their fight for immigration reform that offers a chance at residency for the millions of illegal immigrants living in the U.S.

Organizers said they were not expecting to have the thousands of people that participated in rallies in Houston and other cities across the country last spring but simply wanted to remind federal lawmakers that they are still pushing for comprehensive immigration reform.

"This is the beginning of a new round of marches and rallies," Lorenzo Cano, with the Houston-based Nueva Raza Movement, said at the rally held at city hall and attended by about 500 people.

The House and Senate have failed to resolve differences between immigration bills each has passed.

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The Senate approved a guest worker program and a possible path to citizenship for many of the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. The House-approved bill focuses on enforcement, including making all illegal immigrants subject to felony prosecution, and has no provision for guest workers.

A series of hearings in Washington and around the country were held on the topic this summer.

During the march, which snaked its way through the streets of hot and humid downtown Houston, people carried signs that read, "No Human Being is Illegal." Marchers also chanted for fair wages for illegal immigrants and held up signs that read, "We Are Workers Not Criminals Not Terrorists."

Across the street from the rally, about five counter protesters gathered, holding up signs that read, "Definition: Undocumented & Unauthorized Means Illegal" and "Fly Your Flag In Your Country."

In Dallas, about 500 people marched through rainy conditions asking for a plan that would legalize millions of undocumented workers and their families.

Protesters shouted "Bush, escucha, estamos en la lucha," meaning "Bush, listen to us, we are in the struggle," and "Aqui estamos y no nos vamos," meaning "We're here and we're not leaving."

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