Immigrants rally in Denver |

Immigrants rally in Denver

DENVER (AP) ” Hundreds of people demanding better treatment for immigrants marched through downtown Denver on Tuesday carrying banners reading “Stop the Raids Now” and waving U.S. and Mexican flags.

The march was part of a nationwide day of demonstrations and rallies seeking a path to citizenship for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Last year, 1 million joined similar events, including 75,000 in Denver by police estimate.

Denver officers did not expect to have an estimate on this year’s crowd until later in the day.

Isla Diaz, 16, who had an American flag wrapped around her shoulders like a cape, said she was originally from Juarez, Mexico, but now, “I feel like I’m a part of this place.”

“I feel like I want to stay here,” said Diaz, who said she has been in the United States about six years. She declined to discuss her immigration status.

Diaz said she skipped high school to attend the rally.

Cabinetmaker Guillermo Gutierrez, 34, marched with his wife, Cecilia Salazar, 35, and carried his youngest child, a 3-year-old daughter. Gutierrez said he and his wife are illegal immigrants but the 3-year-old was a U.S. citizen by birth.

Gutierrez said their lives have become more difficult over the past year as Colorado’s tougher new immigration laws took force, requiring proof of citizenship or legal residency to get many services.

He said the license plates on his car are in a friend’s name because Gutierrez did not have the documents now required.

“It’s like driving someone else’s car all the time,” said Gutierrez, who, like his wife, was wearing a University of Colorado baseball hat.

Gutierrez said he worries about losing his job because state immigration laws might keep him from getting another in Colorado.

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