Thousands gathered in Austin Tuesday to protest immigration bills that are scheduled to go before state lawmakers. They call them anti-immigration, and they want the bills thrown out.
A number of sheriffs and police chiefs from across Texas have joined the fight.
The group met at Waterloo Park in downtown Austin and marched together to the south steps of the Texas Capitol for an afternoon rally. Chants of “Si se puede!” filled the park as the crowd grew. They are hopeful lawmakers will hear their message.
“Hopefully, eventually the laws will change and our people in power will see that these are so anti-family laws, and the consequences to what we have in law right now is horrendous,” said Santa Gonzales.
About a dozen bills would impact law enforcement directly. They are similar to the Arizona immigration bill that recently passed. It directs officers to ask for proof of citizenship if they have reason to believe a person who is already suspected of a crime may be in the state illegally.
Bills have also been filed regarding employment, health care, and voter ID.
Those who have gathered in opposition to the proposed legislation have traveled from across the state: El Paso, Dallas, San Antonio and Corpus Christi, among others cities.
The rally at the Capitol is expected to begin at 1:00 p.m.