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Posted: 4:42 PM- Nearly 1,000 people, many of them Latino students, gathered for the "Demonstration for Immigration Reform" this afternoon at the City-County Building, forsaking classes in support of congressional action that would allow their undocumented moms, dads, aunts, uncles and cousins to legally live in the United States -- the country they now call home.

Chanting "U.S.A., we will stay," and "We won't go," students marched around the City-County building, waving U.S. flags alongside flags from Peru, El Salvador and Mexico.

Beatriz Mayorga, a 16-year-old Jordan High sophomore, had a special interest in immigration reform: Neither she nor her parents are documented despite being in the country since she was a year old.

"We'll try the best to go on even though we don't have papers," she said.

Similar rallies also were occurring throughout the nation for what organizers dubbed "Immigrant Day" demonstrations.

The students started arriving around noon for the rally scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. By then, families with children had staked out spots on the lawn to show their support.

About a dozen police officers on bicycles patrolled the grounds. No disturbances were reported.

More than 500 students from Kennedy Junior High and West, Cyprus, Kearns and Granger high schools made their way from the West Valley City area toward downtown Salt Lake City earlier today. Some walked. Others piled in dozens of cars.

By 11 a.m., Ana Salazar and her group of friends had walked some 10 miles from Cyprus High School in Magna to South Salt Lake. They said they found out about the walkouts through MySpace and text messages.

Ana, a 15-year-old sophomore and U.S. citizen, said she walked out of English class about 8:30 a.m. because she wants to support "the people." She's worried about all the recent immigration raids that are separating families.

"I wouldn't want to be here [Utah] alone without family," Ana said.

Some students said other Latino students didn't leave class because many of them are undocumented and don't want to get in trouble.

Veronica Talancon, a Cyprus High junior, said she hopes the students can make a difference even though they're not old enough to vote.

"The worst part is that people think we're trying to cause problems -- but we're not," she said. "We're just trying to get our opinions heard."

"Demonstration for Immigration Reform" organizers said they did not know about the walkouts and had scheduled the rally at 3 p.m. so students could come after school.

"We have not encouraged them to skip school," said rally volunteer Antonella Packard. "School is very important."