Crowds turned out in force Monday to once again aim the spotlight toward immigration issues. Legal and illegal immigrants joined forces for a rally in Omaha.
The event, called A Day Without Immigrants, started at 10 a.m. at Burke High School with thousands marching north on 120th Street to Tranquility Park.
They boycotted work, skipped school and refused to shop Monday. The goal was to show the community the importance of their presence.
Some businesses in South Omaha closed for the day to allow their employees to participate in the rally.
One of the demonstrators told us, "It's for people's rights like it was for our ancestors. And they want to start and do the work that they're already going."
Monday's rally was smaller than one held on April 10 in downtown Omaha which police said was attended by more than 10,000. Police estimates place Monday's crowd in the range of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 while organizers put the number in the 8,000 to 10,000 range.
Mario Ortiz was in the crowd on Monday and he says, "We know that there are illegal people here but we come to the U.S. to work."
Cindy Jarquin adds, "Basically they're just here to be working and having a better life: the all American dream for Hispanics."
Pete Smagazz sees things differently and as he demonstrators took to the street, Smagazz held up a sign written in Spanish that read, "My grandparents came here from Poland and they had legal papers. You need to do the same thing. Thank you."
Smagazz supports a proposal that would make it a felony to illegally enter the U.S. and he says, "I'm real concerned about our country, concerned about the cheap labor lobby that would bring people in here."
Thousands of people rallied elsewhere in Nebraska as well. An estimated 3,000 people marched at a rally in Grand Island while hundreds turned out for rallies in Hastings and Norfolk.