More than a million people nationwide took to the streets on Monday, May 1, to protest federal legislation that would crack down on illegal immigration. A march through downtown Burlington to the University of Vermont drew more than 200 demonstrators holding signs that read, "We are all immigrants" and "No human being is illegal."
The marchers massed at Lawrence Barnes Elementary School on North Street -- across the street from immigrant-owned African and Thai markets -- to hear speeches from organizers and Burlington Mayor Bob Kiss.
Hugo Martinez Cazon, who came to the U.S. from Argentina, said he joined the march to draw attention to the plight of immigrants in Vermont. He noted that there are an estimated 2000 illegal immigrants employed on Vermont dairy farms. Given what dairy farms mean to Vermonters, "That's a huge contribution," he said. "That landscape tourists come to see is produced by immigrant work. If we work, we should be treated with equality and dignity."