Turnout Is Lower at L.A. Immigration Rallies Los Angeles braced for a large turnout for two immigrant rights demonstrations this May Day. The focus on pressuring Congress to adopt broad immigration changes could draw large enough crowds to bring downtown businesses to a halt.
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Turnout Is Lower at L.A. Immigration Rallies

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Turnout Is Lower at L.A. Immigration Rallies

Turnout Is Lower at L.A. Immigration Rallies

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

And Carrie, what's been happening there now?

CARRIE KAHN: And then, as you can hear on the background here, they've come back down to MacArthur Park, which is the east of downtown Los Angeles, and are rallying again to hear speakers into the night.

SIEGEL: But as you have said, the crowds in Los Angeles are smaller. Even in Chicago, which may have had the biggest turn out, but today's crowds are a lot smaller than they were a year ago. What has changed, though, in this past year?

KAHN: A lot of people also talked about problems that they were afraid because of the increase in (unintelligible) deportation raids. And I think that's what motivated a lot of people to stay home. But in Chicago, it motivated a lot of people to come out and protest and say we're against these raids. So there's a lot of factors here.

SIEGEL: Carrie, are the events in Los Angeles overwhelmingly Latino, or is it more of a mix than that?

KAHN: No, it's definitely overwhelming Latino. They feel that they are feeling the brawns of these, what they call, anti-immigrant laws that are being passed around the country that many were passed after the big marches. And when people found their television screen, half a million people in Los Angeles - illegal immigrants marching - so they like they have been at the front of a lot of these - these new harsher laws, and tougher border enforcement that you - it's a definitely majority Latino crowd here.

SIEGEL: And what is going to happen the rest of this evening in Los Angeles? What's on schedule?

KAHN: We're going to hear a lot of speakers. They said a lot of groups that are more rooted in the communities, more organized, so they're going to come here and have some speeches, talk about - their push is more for civic participation, voter registration, things like that. So I'm sure we'll hear a lot about that. And we'll also hear a lot of calls to stop the raids and stop the deportations, and to pass immigration reform this year.

SIEGEL: That's NPR's Carrie Kahn reporting from an immigration march near downtown Los Angeles. Thank you, Carrie.

KAHN: You're welcome.

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