Northwest Rallies On May Day

May 2, 2012

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he'll convene a workgroup to study possible changes to the state's driver's license laws for undocumented immigrants. That news prompted cheers at a May Day rally in front of the state capitol Tuesday evening. Thousands of people marked the day with demonstrations in Salem, along with other cities across the Northwest. Correspondent Chris Lehman has this report from the march in Salem.

I'm standing along the route of the march near the state capitol in Salem. People are shouting "Si se puede" and "This is what democracy looks like." The rally here is focused in large part on immigration issues: Things like drivers licenses and in-state college tuition for children of illegal immigrants. Gaspar Ponce of Silverton says he was unable to renew his driver's license recently because he lacked the proper documentation.

Ponce: "We need the driver's license for work, to get a little money for my family and I came here to help a little bit for all of the people, and help my family."

The rally here was largely peaceful. That's a contrast to May Day rallies in Portland and Seattle, where people were arrested, windows were smashed, with the focus there being on more corporate issues. I'm Chris Lehman in Salem.