4/10/2006 HOUSTON -- Thousands of Houstonians are expected to take part in a protest on Monday against a controversial immigration bill.

The "March of Dignity" is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. at Guadalupe Plaza on South Jensen Drive at Navigation Boulevard in northeast Houston. From there, demonstrators will walk to Allen's Landing on Main Street at Commerce Street in downtown Houston. The march is expected to reach Allen's Landing, where a rally will be held from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., some time after 2 p.m.

Participants gathered early to organize their thoughts, chants and banners in anticipation of what is expected to be Houston's largest immigration rally yet.

"I'm expecting to see something pretty amazing. A few weeks ago when the students were organizing the marches, it was really incredible. This is a national day of action, so it's going to be very exciting here today," participant Annica Gorham told KPRC Local 2.

Many of the people involved in the march are the immigrant workers who are the subject of the debate. Some participants said their employers gave them the day off to join in the rally.

"Even some employers who have called us, like one construction company owned by a Latino businessman, gave the day off to 150 workers," Central Americans Resource Center member Maria Jimenez said.

Organizers have discouraged students from participating in the protests. However, some students said their parents gave them permission to attend.

Marches, rallies and protests were scheduled across Texas on Monday calling for Congress to legalize an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants.

Rallies were also planned for Monday in El Paso, Austin and elsewhere in Texas, including an estimated 2,000 protesters at a morning rally in Tyler.

(From click2houston.com, FreeRepublic.com)