Protesters march in downtown in support of immigration reform

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- An estimated 1,000 people marched through the streets of downtown Phoenix in support of workers rights and immigration reform on Wednesday.

Nearly two dozen Valley activist groups took part in the May Day demonstration which began at the State Capitol and ended hours later at the Hyatt.

Demonstrators say the recent release of a bi-partisan immigration reform bill gives them extra energy and hope.

“We’re pretty sure we’re going to get a reform this year, so this May Day is all about, ‘pass a bill; pass a bill now,’” said Monica Sandschafer of Living United for Change AZ.

Among the young activists who spoke before the crowd at the Capitol was Reyna Avila, one of the first to apply for and receive deferred action.

“To receive my DOCA, it gave me my freedom not to be scared anymore, to come out of the shadows, continue my education, continue the fight, not just for myself but for the 11 million,” said Avila.  “For me, I’ve lived the American Dream. I consider myself American, because that’s all I’ve ever known.”

Arizona is considered a battleground of one of the most contentious and divisive immigration debates in the nation. 

However, while controversy and concerns over border security remain, Wednesday’s rally for reform saw no counter protests.