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Thousands March For Immigration Reform In Downtown LA May Day Rallies

LOS ANGELES ( — Thousands will take to the streets of downtown Los Angeles Wednesday to participate in May Day protests to end immigrant deportations.

Rallies that will cause traffic headaches and change bus routes are planned throughout the day, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

May Day started as a day for labor rights, but in recent years, it has transformed into a protest for immigration laws.

The march is headed by community organizations, faith-based leaders and labor unions that support Congress' decision to pass so-called "Common Sense Immigration" reform that keeps families together and offers a clear pathway to citizenship for immigrants that are in the United States illegally.

"My parents came to this country from Mexico, and it was during the Reagan Administration that they were finally able to get legal documents to live in this country and to work legally," Allejandra Valle, who has participated in several local May Day marches over the years, said. "We've been able to contribute to our society and our country…so we're hoping that the 11 million immigrants will make their voices heard and say, 'Look, we deserve a pathway to citizenship too.'"

"We take the president at his word that he's serious about bringing about immigration reform this year. So we hope that when everything is said and done, the members of the House, including members of the Tea Party, see the light and understand that it's taken way too long for comprehensive immigration reform," organizer Juan Jose Gutierrez said.

The ANSWER Coalition, which is the largest protest involving about 20 organizations, began their march at noon for immigrant and worker rights on Olympic and Broadway boulevards.

It will continue for three hours and end at Olvera Street in downtown LA, organizers said.

After the march, a program will be held at Main Street and Arcadia. A second protest will start at 4:30 p.m.

Motorists are advised to use local rail systems if possible, as offramps from the Hollywood (101) Freeway will likely be closed at Spring Street and Broadway.

Street closures are expected to last through 8 p.m., organizers said.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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