GRAND RAPIDS - Thousands are expected to rally in Garfield Park today in protest of tougher immigration laws. The rally, which is set to begin at 1:00 pm, is part of a coordinated series of demonstrations across the country.
The demonstrations are being held to call attention to the recently passed U.S. House bill calling for tougher border security and penalties for employers who use illegal immigrants to perform labor.
The Michigan Organizing Project is preparing for the demonstration. The group is protesting attempts to toughen immigration laws.
Gonzalo Ramirez is helping in organizing the rally which he hopes will be successful. "We're trying to stop that because not only would it criminalize undocumented immigrants it would also criminalize churches and organizations and anyone else that wants to help any person in distress," he says. "Healthcare workers would be criminalized if they were to help somebody that was in need."
U.S. Representative Pete Hoekstra (R) Holland says American needs tougher immigration laws. "The lack of a legal frame work does not serve the country well and does not serve illegal aliens very well either," said Rep. Hoekstra. "They don't have the protections under law that I think that they should have."
The U.S. Senate is currently coming up with their own version of tougher immigration laws.
There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
The march begins at 1:00 p.m..