A day without immigrants

U.S. workers marched and held country-wide strikes in support of illegal immigrants

Millions of legal and illegal immigrants in the United States were on strike on Monday in support of legal rights for illegal immigrants.

They were protesting a bill passed in December that would turn the country's roughly 12 million illegal immigrants into criminals.

The goal of the day-long boycott, dubbed "A day without immigrants" by immigrant rights groups, was to show that the U.S. economy can't function without immigrants, legal or otherwise.

There were marches in Chicago and Los Angeles, with those gathered demanding that illegal immigrants be given legal status and the same rights and protections as U.S. citizens.

In the West and Midwest, several meatpacking companies had to close, while farms in California and Arizona didn't have any migrant pickers. In big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, a number of businesses had to close due to lack of staff.

An AP-Ipsos poll showed that the majority of Americans (56 per cent) would support legislation that would allow many illegal immigrants to join a legal guest worker program and later apply for citizenship.

But the same poll found only 17 per cent of Americans thought the boycott would help the immigrants' cause, while 57 per cent said it would hurt it.

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