Immigration reform protest draws large crowd

Thousands of Mid-Southerners rallied against proposed immigration reforms Monday afternoon at the National Civil Rights Museum.

Organizers of the event said the 11 million illegal immigrants who live in the United States simply want a better life for their families.

"They need these 11 million immigrants to work," said Greg Diaz, pastor at Nueva Dirccion Church. "So how about if we just line up the law that will protect them, and will empower them to continue to work in America?"

Blanca Mirez, who participated in the rally, is an American citizen married to aman from Mexico. Mirez said her husband struggled for years to become an American citizen.

"If you put yourself in their place, and you live in poverty, and you want to have a better life, what's wrong with that," she asked.

But not everyone was supportive of the peaceful protest. Spectator Samuel Loften was outraged by demonstrators, who used the National Civil Rights Museum as a staging ground for immigration reform.

"As they said in the 80's, they may not overcome, but they will overwhelm," he said. "If they want to change the laws of this country, they should be marching on the Federal or the State building, not on our holy ground, where our greatest American lost his life.

But Loften's protest was drowned out by the voices of thousands who said they just want the American Dream.

Other demonstrations across the state and the country Monday brought thousands to the streets. Legal and illegal immigrants called on Congress to not crack down, and called on Americans to respect immigrants, not fear them.