American flags poked out above the crowd, as well as below it, as infants and children waved the beacon of hope they are probably too young to understand. Mothers pushed strollers as fathers carried older children on their backs throughout the 12-mile march. Tears welled in the eyes of those same parents as they considered the consequences of the law for their children.

“It’s been very difficult,” said Magdalena, as she gripped the stroller where her youngest daughter sat, “all of our children have suffered incredibly.”

Two of her daughters are too young to understand, she said, but her oldest boy, an 11-year-old little man as she described him, constantly sat up in bed with worry.

‘“What will happen to us if you get arrested, mama?’ he asks me all the time. He was really excited the other day when he saw his dad’s Mexican passport. ‘They can’t arrest him anymore, right?’ I didn’t know how to tell him those documents didn’t matter here in Alabama,” she said, as she wiped the tears from her cheek.

Magdalena, an immigrant from Mexico who has lived in Alabama for 12 years, said she first came here for better opportunities, in pursuit of a better quality of life.

It is the same reason thousands of other immigrants make the dangerous trek into the country, smuggled in across an unforgiving dessert. They risk their lives for a better tomorrow.