New York Times: coalition to apply election strength to immigration debate
Coalition to Apply Election Strength to Immigration Debate
In a new nationwide campaign, groups that favor a path to citizenship for most of the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants will seek to mobilize the same coalition that helped to carry President Obama into his second term, while treading lightly enough to avoid disrupting the delicate immigration overhaul negotiations in the Senate.
On Tuesday, a coalition of Latino, Asian, African-American, labor and church groups announced plans to throw their weight into the immigration debate, saying they want Congress to move quickly on the complex and volatile issues, with legislation introduced in the Senate as early as March. But they refrained from providing details about the path to citizenship for illegal immigrants that they favor, saying it would be “premature” to be specific when the thorny issue is still being discussed at the White House and by bipartisan groups of lawmakers in the Senate and in the House of Representatives.
Janet Murguía, the president of NCLR, one of the largest national Latino organizations, said an overhaul bill with a clear path to citizenship for most illegal immigrants in the country was “a matter of fundamental respect for the Latino community.”
But she said the groups’ leaders were looking to lawmakers, particularly in the Senate, to chart the precise course those immigrants would follow.
The coalition also includes the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Service Employees International Union, among other unions; the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, which includes many of the largest African-American civil rights groups; and a range of church groups, including evangelical Christians.
The coalition is building on a record of mobilization from the elections in November. The labor unions and the Latino and Asian immigrant groups led efforts that turned out many thousands of voters in states like Colorado, Florida and Nevada, which were crucial to Mr. Obama’s re-election.
The groups said they would hold a series of street rallies in coming weeks, especially in states of the eight senators in the bipartisan group, leading up to a major rally in Washington on April 10. On Feb. 25, the groups will begin a national bus tour that will travel to 19 states. The service employees union will run a $250,000 Spanish-language radio ad this weekend in major markets in 25 states.
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