Several thousand immigration rights advocates marched in Los Angeles, San Diego and hundreds gathered in the rain in San Francisco on Friday, but crowds in California appeared much smaller than in previous May Day demonstrations.
Marches in downtown Los Angeles took on a festive atmosphere with people carrying signs and banging drums while vendors sold food, cotton candy and ice cream from pushcarts with ringing bells. One group walked to a building housing federal immigration offices and blared salsa music from loudspeakers.
Immigrants and supporters in San Francisco’s Dolores Park hoped to keep immigration reform on Obama’s agenda. They held signs calling for amnesty for undocumented immigrants and an end to immigration enforcement raids. Many argued that allowing undocumented immigrants to become citizens and take a more active role in the economy will improve the country’s financial outlook. Dozens of students participated, many calling for passage of the DREAM Act, which was reintroduced in the U.S. Senate in March, and would make undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. under the age of 15 eligible for in-state tuition.