As Congress inches closer to changing American immigration laws, thousands of supporters are planning to gather in Washington, DC and major cities across the country Wednesday.
Pro immigrant groups are taking their cause to the U.S. Capitol Building starting at 3 P.M. tomorrow, where they expect tens of thousands to show support for changing what they term America’s broken immigration laws.
Diana Colin is a community organizer at CHIRLA, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles. She says she’s going to represent her mixed status family.
“My parents are undocumented,” she said. “My brother is a deferred action recipient and I have a younger brother and a sister who are citizens.”
She’s expecting a bill to come out of the Senate in the next few days which will provide a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, estimated to number around 11 million.
Immigration advocates believe the political momentum is in their favor, with many Republicans who previously opposed loosening immigration restrictions now rethinking their positions.
Betty Hung, policy director of the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, said this is a crucial moment to bring supporters to Washington and as many other cities as possible.
“I think the stakes are extremely high,” she said. “And my hope is that the Senate and the House of Representatives, those crafting an immigration reform bill really hear us.”
Hung said groups are planning to march to all four of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s offices in California. The march here in Los Angeles will leave the Westwood Park and Recreation Center on the Westside at 11:30 AM and make its way three blocks to Feinstein's office on the corner of Santa Monica and Sepulveda.
“Not only is she the senior senator from California, which has the largest number of immigrants of any state in the country, 27 percent of Californians are immigrants,” Hung said. “But senator Feinstein also sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee which will be vetting an immigration reform bill.”
Even though political winds seem to blow in favor of reform right now, Hung says she’s concerned about proposals by some Republican senators to eliminate the ability of U.S. citizens to sponsor brothers, sisters, and adult married children over 21 years of age through the legal immigration system . That would be a setback for may Asian and Latino families, she said.
And that’s why it’s crucial that politicians see that immigration reform advocates can bring thousands of supporters --and potential voters-- into the streets, she said.