(CBS NEWS) – May Day rallies around the country are taking on a particular urgency this year, with bipartisan immigration reform in the Senate.
Many activists see this as a way to keep the pressure on lawmakers to move forward with the legislation.
Demonstrators took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York- all pushing for immigration reform, and an end to deportations.
Two weeks ago, a bi-partisan group of senators introduced legislation to create a path toward citizenship for 11 million immigrants.
Antonio Bernabe came to the U.S. illegally 24 years ago. He has a work permit, but desperately wants to become a citizen.
“I would die for this country. That is why we have to fight for this country to be a home for everyone,” said Bernabe.
Rallies in Los Angeles and around the country were smaller and calmer than they were in 2006 and 2007, when massive demonstrations took place. Those coincided with the last serious effort to change the immigration system.
At a May Day rally in Salem, the governor of Oregon signed a bill authorizing drivers’ licenses for people in the state illegally.
“Every Oregonian can take a driver’s test, get licensed, and drive safely to and from work,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber
And demonstrators gathered at Colorado’s state capitol under a light spring snow.
“Every person should be allowed to get onto that road map to citizenship and be fully integrated into our system,” said State Sen. Jessi Ulibarri.
Colorado’s governor just signed a bill allowing students living in the U.S. illegally to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.