BOISE -- Nearly a thousand people gathered for a march on immigration reform in Boise on Sunday. Most were members of Idaho's Mexican-American community. All asked the government for a better path to U.S. citizenship.
The march was held in conjunction with what supporters are calling the National Day of Dignity. Boise was one of more than 170 cities nationwide calling on the government to pass immigration reform.
Marchers started in Ann Morrison Park, then moved to the Idaho Statehouse, where a rally was held in the park across the street.
The rally goers chanted "Yes we can," as they marched down Capitol Boulevard.
THE PATH TO CITIZENSHIP
Maritza Valdez' parents brought her to the United States when she was nine years old.
"Until you've lived what's going on, then you won't understand," said Valdez. "If you live in Mexico you will clearly understand why we move to this country, why we look for a better job and we look for a better future."
Most Mexican-Americans know the negative opinions some people hold about immigration.
"... They see us as we just come to this country to take the American people's jobs, but a lot of us come here because we want a better life, not only for ourselves, but for our kids as well," said Valdez.
"I believe in immigrant American," said Anna Tovar. "That's what we are from the beginning and I want to support anybody who wants to come here and educate themselves and support our country."
Waldo Araujo has spent the last 18 years in the U.S.
"I'm already part of this country," said Araujo. "I went to school here, I did everything here. Everything I know is here."
Many who support immigration reform say the current system separates families.
Araujo's daughter was born here, but he doesn't have the documentation to go back to Mexico and see his parents. His daughter has never met her grandparents.
"You can't imagine, it's really hard," said Araujo. "That's one of the hardest things, my parents can come, but they just don't have the money to do it, and with all the economy that we've been through it's hard; it's really hard."
The chants heard all around Boise showed the passion in the hearts of these protesters. Now, they're hoping those in Washington will listen. The nationwide events will culminate in a gathering on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on October 8.