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Taking immigration back to the streets

Supporters watch from the top floor windows of a department store May 1, 2006 as thousands congregate in New York City’s Union Square, joining activists and immigrants across the country who rallied in various forms that day, holding demonstrations and boycotting work and school in a display intended to show their importance to the country.

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LISA NAPOLI: A year ago, immigrants and their advocates took to the streets in some of the biggest marches since the days of the Civil Rights movement. Today, protestors will be out in force again. We asked Alisa Roth to take a look at how far the immigration movement has come in the past year.


ALISA ROTH: Protestors plan to be on the streets in cities from New York to Los Angeles.

When immigrants walked off their jobs a year ago, many expected that Congress would pass some immigration reform quickly. That didn't happen.

The Migration Policy Institute's Muzzaffar Chishti says last year's protests did make one thing clear:

MUZZAFFAR CHISHTI: It's no longer possible to say the only strategy we can have in immigration today is to just have an enforcement-only strategy.

Many say this is the last chance to pass comprehensive immigration reform before election season begins.

But it may already be too late.

CHISHTI: There is also an increasing feeling that whatever the compromise that may emerge this year with the pressure that will be on to produce something may not be the most sensible policy.

In any case, Chishti says, any successful reform will have to include a way to integrate immigrants-along with any enforcement.

In New York, I'm Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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