About 2,000 march for immigrant rights

Natl. Day of Action for Dignity & Respect held

SAN DIEGO - Immigrant rights advocates held marches and rallies in San Diego and around the country Saturday.

About 2,000 marchers participating in the "National Day of Action for Dignity & Respect" protested what they believe are tactics designed to delay immigration legislation that would lead to citizenship for people in the United States illegally.

The San Diego march began at 10 a.m., starting at Sixth Avenue and Laurel Street, and continued to the County Administration Building at 1600 Pacific Highway, where a rally will take place.

The local event, led by the San Diego Organizing Project and area labor unions, is one of 19 scheduled in California, with at least 130 others set to take place in the United States, according to the organizers.

Participants also hoped to sign up new voters.

Earlier this week, House Democrats unveiled immigration legislation that is similar to a bill passed by the Senate in June, but does not fund construction of 700 miles of fencing at the Mexican border. Instead, it offers goals for border security.

Both bills grant legal status to undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Pedro Rios, acting chairman of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, said the House bill was unveiled soon after a visit to Washington, D.C., by San Diego law enforcement, faith and business leaders.

"It appears that members of Congress are beginning to pay attention," Rios said.

He described the border enforcement provisions of the Senate bill as "excessive measures that will unnecessarily punish border communities."

It is "a strong signal" that House Democrats dropped the security elements of the measure, Rios said.

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