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2 May, 2009 03:39

‘Give us rights’, demand US immigrants on May Day

"We want to work without fear" - that was the message voiced by immigrants during May Day rallies across the United States.

They are demanding reform to immigration policy, saying they work for America's prosperity.

On International Day for Workers, hundreds took to the streets all around the United States. They were calling for workers’ rights and a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.

Many of the demonstrators were themselves illegals, who entered the US without papers. They are not properly protected under law and end up taking jobs American citizens are unwilling to do.

The protestors argue that it is unfair that four per cent of America’s population live in the country illegally, vulnerable to evil bosses and deprived of driving licenses.

"We live in that darkness because we have to," a 40-year-old immigrant from El Salvador said. He has been in the United States for six years. "We hide because we must," he said.

With unemployment rates rising, raids against illegal immigrants have increased. But the question remains whether the economy can recover without them.

”The American tree has become powerful and prosperous thanks to the immigrants that have come from all over the world,” Cezar Maxit, a protestor told RT. “So we want to remind Obama that if we want a strong economic recovery, immigrants are a key part of that.”

Immigrant May Day rallies have taken place in the United States for many years, with the largest crowds turning out in 2006.