A boisterous crowd of nearly 2,000 immigration rights advocates rallied Tuesday on the streets of Salem in support of several key issues facing illegal immigrants.
The rally was held in favor of both a pathway to U.S. citizenship and continued Oregon driving privileges for illegal immigrants, the Associated Press reported.
A large percentage of the crowd carried American flags and signs that read “Oregon works because immigrants work” and “Immigration reform now!”
Although the rally did not create any violence, at one point the rally fell silent when a woman began yelling, “Go back home and come back legally!” The woman, who would identify herself only as “M.J.,” said she was protesting what she called the immigrant “invasion” of the U.S., the AP reported.
Some lawmakers say Oregon should stop giving driving privileges to undocumented immigrants when it adopts the new federal requirements, which require proof of citizenship or legal residence to get a driver’s license, according to the AP. Oregon is one of nine states that do not require proof of legal residence to obtain driver’s licenses.
Immigrants rights advocates and some agriculture industry officials say Oregon’s current policy has worked well because it encourages illegal workers who are driving anyway to undergo driver’s training and pass a test showing familiarity with driving laws, the AP reported.