Thousands march in Salem May Day rally

Thousands march in Salem May Day rally

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by KGW Reporter Katherine Cook and KGW.com Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @KCookKGW

kgw.com

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 4:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, May 1 at 6:57 PM

SALEM -- Thousands of people gathered on the steps of the Oregon State Capitol to celebrate May Day, and to celebrate a victory for immigration rights supporters.

Governor John Kitzhaber signed into law a bill allowing everyone in Oregon—regardless of immigration status--to obtain a special driver’s card.

May Day marcher Maria Reyes was among the thousands of people on hand to witness the signing.

“It's very difficult to drive without a license,” Reyes said. “It's good because now we can pay insurance. It's better.”

Supporters believe the law will improve traffic safety while helping thousands of undocumented citizens get to and from work.

Opponents believe the driver’s card law enables illegal citizens to break federal law by living and working in Oregon. They plan to file a referendum on the bill and get it on the November ballot.

“We need to gather about 58,000 signatures and we think we can do that, if our phones are any indication of the upset this has caused,” said Cynthia Kendoll of the group Oregonians for Immigration Reform.”

Demonstrators marched around downtown Salem before returning to the Capitol. There was large police presence, but no problems or arrests were reported.

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