Gadsden County’s tomato farms provide a livelihood for many illegals who often live in fear of getting sent home, but there was little fear in the streets Monday.
Marco Zunigas came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico in 1989. Today he's got a job and a green card, but he hasn't forgotten what it took to get them.
Marco Zunigas said, "It's real hard. You don't know the language to start off. You got to start off in the lowest spot picking tomatoes, then you gradually go up but it takes five to six years before you do it.
But Zuniga's path to citizenship could become much more difficult. It's why he's joining nearly 1,000 people in Quincy who want lawmakers to legalize nearly 11 million undocumented workers. The largely Hispanic crowd was protesting a House bill that makes illegal immigration a felony.
Nancy Cruz, one of the protestors, said, "We are not criminals, we are people that just come to this country to have a better life and be somebody. We wanna a good job too.”
Evelia Menjivar with the United Farm Workers of America added, "There are farm workers in this area. They are people; they are also undocumented in this area. All they want is opportunity and a chance to show they are not criminals. They are workers."
As the crowd shouted, "It can be done,” many protestors also carried national flags. Some represented Mexico, others Honduras, but most fly the red, white and blue of the United States to signify a desire to live American dream.
"Came in illegal, now I have a green card but I know how hard it is. That's why I'm here helping out people," said Zuniga.
It’s a dream Zuniga hopes can still come true for those like him. Organizers from United Farm workers of America hope to plan another rally in Tallahassee.