The U.S. Congress is debating the most sweeping overhaul of the country's immigration law in two decades. Legislators are considering a number of proposals, ranging from classifying illegal immigrants as felons to providing an opportunity for undocumented immigrants to obtain legal residency.
St. Paul is one of the latest cities to join in the public discussion over immigration. People from Los Angeles to Des Moines, Philadelphia to Fort Wayne, New York to Salt Lake City have taken to the streets to make their opinions heard.
This weekend, two different rallies made their way to the steps of the state Capitol.
On Saturday, about 50 people gathered to call for tougher immigration laws and tighter security at the country's borders. Most said they aren't against legal immigration or against immigrants. What they do oppose is amnesty for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the United States. Demonstators ranged from retired war veterans to grade-schoolers from the Twin Cities suburbs.
On Sunday, tens of thousands turned out in support of immigrants' rights. Protesters at that rally said they opposed legislation that would classify illegal immigrants as felons. Demonstrators said they wanted to highlight the vital role of immigrants in Minnesota's workforce. The crowd of an estimated 30,000 was made up of Mexican and Latin American immigrants -- both documented and undocumented -- as well as Somali-American families, Hmong refugees and American-born activists.
Protesters from both rallies said they love the United States and came out to protest becasue they want to help shape the future of the country.