Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Activists push immigration reform while Congress is out of town

Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union says immigration reform must include a pathway to citizenship.

Congress is out of town this week, but a group of activists is keeping up the drumbeat for lawmakers to adopt comprehensive immigration reform. They want a path to citizenship that’s an actual path.

The group of labor, immigration and clergy calls itself the Alliance for Citizenship and promises to lobby members of Congress on Capitol Hill as well as in their districts this week. Eliseo Medina of the Service Employees International Union says immigration reform must include a pathway to citizenship without roadblocks or unreasonable waiting periods designed to delay and deny.

Medina says he understands there will be a wait time to process the estimated 11 million undocumented people through the immigration process, "but we want to make sure that it is a fair and reasonable amount of time. And it’s gotta lead in a clear path to that citizenship."

The Alliance for Citizenship delivered 300,000 petitions to the Senate Judicary Committee last week and is spending a quarter-of-a-million dollars on a Spanish language ad this week, calling for citizenship as part of immigration reform. A nationwide bus tour has been organized, ending in Washington for an April 10th march in Washington. The activists say they are making the push now because time is not on their side.

The group says if Congress fails to act, voters will be told which members stood in the way.

On Thursday, a group of religious immigration activists will call for a maximum seven-year path to citizenship. 

Over the weekend, the White House’s immigration proposal was leaked. It includes a pathway to permanent residency, not citizenship. Earlier, in a speech delivered in Las  Vegas, the President said for comprehensive immigration reform to work, "it must be clear from the outset that there is a pathway to citizenship."

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