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Illegal immigrant rallies smaller than last year

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River Falls, 54022
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The crowds were smaller than a year ago, but thousands still took to the streets of Wisconsin's largest cities Tuesday to demand immigration reform.

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Madison police said about 500 attended a State Capitol rally while organizers said their events attracted up to 3,500.

In Milwaukee, a crowd up to 20 people wide stretched for over a mile. And when they gathered at a downtown park an estimated 30,000 heard the brother of migrant farm organizer Cesar Chavez demand equality.

Ricardo Chavez, 77, said migrant workers are still going through the same abuses they did years ago.

One of the 25 illegal immigrant workers arrested last August at Star Packaging in Whitewater -- a diabetic grandmother -- said she was detained for two days without food or water.

Rep. Democrat Pedro Colon, D-Milwaukee, told the crowd that anti-immigration lawmakers were swept away last November.

So unlike a year ago, he said it should be easier to pass reforms now, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Racine also had a march and rally. But dozens of Hispanic businesses were closed statewide to demonstrate how much they contribute to the overall economy.

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