Several hundred marchers strode up Omaha's 10th Street on a cloudless Saturday afternoon and asked that federal law give millions of undocumented workers a road to American citizenship.
American flags dotted the wide swath of red-shirted marchers, most of them Latino, who participated in what they called a Rally for Dignity and Respect.
Similar rallies took place in cities across the United States in an effort to remind the nation and Congress that they continue to long for changes to federal immigration laws. An estimated 11 million people live in this country illegally.
A reporter-estimated 500 people participated in the march, which went north on 10th Street to Heartland of America Park.
It was organized by numerous organizations. They included Justice for Our Neighbors, the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Heartland Workers Center and Nebraska Appleseed.
They carried signs that read “Halt Deportations Now,” “Keep Families Together” and “Path to Citizenship.”
Jacqueline Lopez, 19, walked with two young siblings and her parents. The three children were born in the United States and are thus legally citizens, Lopez said, but her parents weren't born here and aren't here legally.
“I'm here to support my parents,” she said.
Her father, Salvador Lopez, said it's hard on him and his family. They know that he and his wife could be picked up by federal officials at any time and that they wouldn't return to the family.
He said he remained optimistic that federal law could be changed. “I have hope this is coming very soon,” he said. “Because we need it.”
About 30 protesters held signs such as, “Illegal Latinos Undercut American Jobs” and “Secure Our Borders.”
Carrie Halford of Fort Calhoun, Neb., said she holds public officials responsible for millions of people living in the country illegally. It's not right to allow it, Halford said.
“Can I pick and choose which laws I follow?” she asked.