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Hundreds rally for immigration rights

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Marchers
Several hundred people marched along Cedar St. in St. Paul, past the MPR building, in support of immigration rights.
MPR Photo/Tim Nelson

Hundreds of immigrant rights supporters held a rally and march at the Capitol today in honor of International Workers' Day.

The marchers are calling on Gov. Pawlenty to stop the deportation of immigrant workers, regardless of their citizenship status.

They also demand immediate federal action on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. 

Immigration march
Hundreds of immigrant rights supporters held a rally and march at the Capitol in honor of International Workers' Day.
MPR Photo/Tylor Boland

Erika Zurawski is a spokeswoman for the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Coalition.

"We planned the march in the middle of the day, knowing there are a lot of working people out there that are taking a very big risk to come to the march. But we wanted to celebrate international workers day the right way," said Zurawski. 

Pawlenty issued a statement today criticizing the DFL-controlled Legislature for failing to enact his immigration proposals. 

Not a crime
Hundreds of immigrant rights supporters held a rally and march at the Capitol today in honor of International Workers' Day.
MPR Photo/Tylor Boland

In January, Pawlenty announced executive actions requiring state employees, contractors doing business with the state and recipients of state grants to electronically verify employment eligibility.

The governor also proposed a measure that would allow police to inquire about immigration status, and enhanced penalties for employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.