Hundreds of people braved Chicago's cold winter weather Monday to go into the streets to demand of Barack Obama, on the day of the president's second inauguration, that he immediately decree a moratorium on deportations.

"We also have a dream - that one day there will be no more deportations and all immigrants will be treated with dignity and respect, and that we can all keep our families together," said Rev. Jose Landaverde, one of the organizers of the march.

The noisy demonstration marched several blocks downtown, from Chicago city hall to Federal Plaza, where they delivered a letter to the district office of Illinois Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

The president must act immediately before Congress begins to consider the promised immigration reform, the letter said.

The activists spoke in the missive of an alleged increase in actions taken against the undocumented in the Chicago area.

They mention raids by federal agents in December against a factory and on a streetcorner, where several day laborers were detained for deportation.

After delivering the letter, activist Emma Lozano told the press that "being very optimistic," Congress could approved immigration reform by August, but it will then take at least 10 months to implement it.

Unless the president acts, at the current rate of more than 1,000 deportations a day "we would have another 500,000 people expelled from the country before the law goes into effect," she said.

"Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity - until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country," Obama said Monday in his second inaugural address. EFE