PORTLAND, Ore. -- At least 11 rallies and protests were organized in support of immigration reform across Oregon and Washington on Saturday, in commemmoration of May Day and timed to increase pressure on Congress to pass immigration reform legislation, organizers said.
Oregon's two main rallies were taking place in Salem and Portland. The capitol's event drew hundreds according to attendees but there was no official estimate yet.
In Portland, organizers hoped for a turnout of 3,000 or more, and police were preparing for a larger crowd and any potential rowdiness - or worse - if anarchists turned out to try and hijack the event.
MORE: May Day - Portland
By mid-afternoon the march had swelled into the thousands, with police estimates between 4,000 and 5,000.
The Portland May Day Coalition, a group made up of several organizations, lead the 1 p.m. march. Earlier in the day, CAUSE Oregon, an immigrant-right advocacy group, organized a protest to be followed by a march.
In Washington, rallies and marches were planned throughout the day in several cities, including Seattle, Walla Walla, Yakima, Vancouver and Mount Vernon.
Immigrant advocates across the country are expecting a spike in attendance this year after a new law approved this past month in Arizona requires authorities to question people about immigration status if there's reason to suspect they're in the country illegally.
Across the nation, hundreds of protests were coordinated to increase public awareness of immigration rights issues as Congress considers another attempt to overhaul federal laws.
Immigration advocates expected a spike in attendance this year after a new law in Arizona that requires authorities to question anyone suspected of possibly being in the United States illegally. President Obama called the law irresponsible and urged Congress to revisit the legislation.