Thousands of immigration rights advocates are taking their message to the streets for a "National Day of Action." On Sunday, nearly half a million people were marching in Dallas. Some of they say they are not criminals for being here illegally and only want the chance to become U.S. citizens.
But it's not that simple for lawmakers who are trying to hammer out immigration reform. A deal within the Senate broke down before they left for Easter recess. Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA) told Chris Wallace on "FOX News Sunday" (Sundays, 5pm ET) that he's hopeful Senators would pass an immigration reform bill when they return. A portion of the Senate proposal provides legal status to illegal immigrants already living in the U.S.
Immigrant organizations are planning more protests, including a general strike on May 1 to show what would happen in the U.S. without both legal and illegal immigrants. Read more.
Speak Out — Do rallies help or hurt their cause?
E-mail us at email@example.com and let us know what YOU think!
Here's what people in the news are saying:
"It's not about flags, it's not really about race. It's about just equal opportunities for everybody and nobody being above or below the law and nobody being exploited by the law. It's that simple." —Protestor Michael Martinez
"I think tempers will cool over a two-week period. And also, there are going to be some expressions by many people very unhappy with the Senate not passing a bill and very unhappy with the House bill." — Sen. Arlen Spector (R-PA)
"To do that for 11 million people — I think what you're going to see is a bureaucracy of rubber stamps just processing people through." —Peter King (R-NY)
Here's what FOX Fans are saying.
"Had laws been enforced all along, illegal immigration would not be an issue. As it is, the costs of dealing with the issue, both politically and financially, will be much higher now, regardless of the legislative outcome. The rallies just show how out-of-hand the issue has gotten." — Gabe (Hattiesburg, MS)
"Give Mexico, Lulac and La Raza, what they want: the whole Southwest, including California. Then we can buy fruit and cheap labor from them. I am beginning to think we do not need to be 50 states. I will only vote for candidates who do not support illegal immigration." — Norma (Pembroke Pines, FL)
"There is a strong backlash brewing. I am convinced this is a widespread reaction. I take it as an indication of how out of touch Washington big media types and politicians are. The inside-the-beltway crowd looks at these demonstrations, nods, and says, 'See, we have to do right by these demonstrators.' The rest of the country is outraged. I expect there will be a political day of reckoning." — Gary (Ft. Leavenworth, KS)
"I think that the rallies only infuriate the American people. Seeing those Mexican flags waving made me mad. If they want to stay here, then learn the language and carry the American flag." — Kenneth
"They can protest all they want, but as long as they do not pay taxes and are in this country illegally they have no rights. I am sick and tired of all these do-gooders who think that illegal immigrants are good for the country. They and their children cost the taxpayers and legal immigrants more in the way of extra taxes than what they produce." — Brent
"The huge rallies hurt their cause. They are promoting the idea that we should pick and choose which laws we will abide by. While I do not think the majority of the illegal immigrants are criminals, they have indeed committed a crime against the laws of this country by being here illegally. If we ignore the immigration laws because of a day of protest, then what comes next? The illegals will have to register for the guest-worker program suggested by President Bush, or risk being deported." — Michael (Jacksonville, FL)
"These rallies hurt their cause and there is nothing illegal going to change most of America's citizens mind. Let's have our political leaders step up to the plate and do something that makes sense for a change." — John (Little Rock, MS)
"The organizers of these rallies don't seem to understand what they are doing. If they had sat back and done nothing after the House passed its immigration bill in December, the Senate would have easily slipped its amnesty bill through two weeks ago. Now the whole country is aware that bills are moving through Congress, thanks to the rallies of hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens in the streets. Those whose voices count (the ones who will be going to the polls in November) are quietly, but with a focus on the offices of their representatives, making it known that they are overwhelmingly against amnesty." — Paul (Houston, TX)
"I am 16 years old, and I am firmly against allowing these immigrants to live in this country for free. They must pay taxes like all people. They should come over, like all of our families did at one point or another. This cannot be allowed in this country. These rallies actually hurt the cause because it shows how uncivilized these people can be. I am against allowing the illegal aliens to remain in this country." — Zack (Indiana, PA)
"If the rallies are peaceful and do not undermine or disrespect the flag of the United States, then the marches will help the cause of the immigrants." — Paul (Hawaii)
"I still can't tell from the news reports whether the protestors are all illegal aliens or also native-born Americans. I don't agree that amnesty should be given to the illegals, but I do approve of guest-worker programs with some provision for acquiring citizenship in a suitable way." — Donal (Newport, OR)
"I believe they hurt the cause, but personally I want them out of here. The laws should be changed to, 'You can't be a natural-born citizen unless your father and/or mother was a naturalized citizen.'” — Julie (Pennsylvania)
"The country is torn between its heart and its head on this issue. In our hearts, we want people who have been here and contributing to the society to be able to stay, but at the same time, we don't want illegals to simply be able to stay without some penalty. Of the many options available, I believe common sense dictates that we must fine or otherwise punish people who are already here illegally, but at the same time we must provide them with paths to legal status. Finally, we must toughen our immigration policies and enforcement so that we don't open the flood gates for the future." — Mike (Austin, TX)
"Send them all back to Mexico, and have them vote for Mexico as the 51st state. It's the only reasonable way to end the immigration problem. Walls or military will not do it. If they want to be here so badly, that is the answer, and in the long run it will be best for everyone." — Joe (Winona, MS)
"All of the protests are meaningless unless the people marching are United States citizens. Constitutionally, they do not have a voice in our country. If they want to protest, they should be protesting in Mexico." — Mike
"Who is working while all these protests are going on? I would love to be able to afford the time to protest these protestors, but unfortunately I have to work to support my family and pay taxes. Also, NO other flag should be flown in the United States but 'Old Glory.' My family fought and died for our flag and what it stands for since the American Revolution. What part of patriotism do these people not understand? Oops, they’re not Americans, are they?" — Janice (Atlanta, GA)
"It should hurt their cause by visibly validating how many illegals there are, and how widespread the problem is. It also begs the question, what is wrong with this picture? A group of illegals can openly demand rights from the American people? I am not sure that the Senate is looking at the polls that show an overwhelming majority of Americans do not favor amnesty, but I can assure you that my vote will be against any candidate having voted for amnesty." — John (Houston, TX)
"Actually, it looks like this might be a good time for the border patrol to check for green cards." — Robert (New Hope, AK)
"I have asked many people if President Vicente Fox is doing anything to find work for his people. It seems to me that he is sitting back and watching us struggle with his problem. Easy solution for him: they come to this country, work and send the money back to Mexico." — S.K.
"The only reason that we have millions of illegal immigrants in our country demanding rights is because our government lied to us in 1986, and has never enforced our immigration laws to date." — Carla
"What is the issue here? What if we had 500,000 drug dealers marching to protest a ban on illegal drugs — would we support them? I don't understand why the word 'illegal' is so hard for people to understand." — Randy (Stevensville, TX)
"It shouldn't matter how much they protest, since they are illegal! They don't have the freedom of speech or any other rights that U.S. citizens have." — Arthur (Bullard, TX)
"Why don’t these protestors take their entitlement demands to their countries of origin? If they were as successfully vocal in their own countries, we wouldn’t have this problem in the first place. They are taking our generous nature and compassionate programs and using them against us." — Patrice (Syracuse, NY)
"No, it doesn't hurt their cause. It helps it, because the only one in Washington with any spine to stand up for Americans is President Bush." — John (Maryland)
"Peaceful rallies can never hurt their cause. They are a hallmark of constitutional democracies." — Kevin (Tirrenia, Italy)
"In my opinion, the rallies hurt their cause. The illegal immigrants have rights as humans but not as Americans. They say they only want to have the same rights as everyone else, because they are good people. Well, good people don't break the law and only an idiot government like ours lets people get away with breaking the law for so long and then wonders why there is so much noise when they try to 'fix it!' Also, bringing the American flag to these latest 'rallies' is too little too late! They showed their true colors earlier with 'Viva La Mexico' flying." — Peg (Salinas, CA)
"Shouldn't all these people be out doing the jobs that us Americans won't do? I don't see the economy folding up because these people aren't working today." — Rodney (Texas)
"These rallies are a legal expressions of freedom, but the problem is there are illegal people marching in them. Half those people do not have any right to protest in this country, so I do not hear them." — Mike (Dallas, TX)
"The marches will not be effective, at least not in the way the organizers hope. The marchers will only serve to aggravate and irate those of us who firmly believe that 'illegal' means exactly what the dictionary says it means." — Bill (Virginia)