NEW YORK (AP) – A multinational group of protesters marched in midtown Manhattan on Saturday, banging drums, chanting and carrying signs to demand favorable immigration legislation.

A few hundred people, including many immigrants but also some citizens who came to show support, made their way about 20 blocks down Madison Avenue.

Marchers carried signs that said, “Defend Immigrant Rights” and “We are America.”

“We are here today to show that we are united on immigration reform,” said Chung-Wha Hong, executive director of The New York Immigration Coalition.

Hong said her coalition organized the rally to protest elements of immigration legislation currently being proposed in the U.S. Senate, such as provisions that the group said would make it easier to detain and deport non-citizens.

“We can’t keep passing laws that divide families,” said Subhash Kateel of participating group Families for Freedom during a news conference before the march. “Why is it that family values are only for citizens in this country?”

Anna Lyrist was one of the U.S. citizens who joined the march.

“I feel very strongly about being here because many of my students who are immigrants work so hard to make a better life for themselves,” said Lyrist, an English instructor at the College of Mount Saint Vincent. “I think we should have compassion for their ambitions.”

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