Immigrant activists press Rubio to embrace comprehensive reform
A large crowd of immigrant activists went to Sen. Marco Rubio's Orlando office today urging him to support comprehensive reform. The event kicked off a march to Washington, where immigration is back on the agenda.
The group, which included farmworker advocates, pushed Rubio to support comprehensive reform that includes a new pathway to citizenship, something the Florida Republican has not supported. "He's pursing a fake immigration reform," Jose Manuel Godinez-Samperio, of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, said in an interview. "He's making a terrible miscalculation by trying to appeal to the very conservative wing to his party."
Though police showed up and some demonstrators were escorted from the building, a group met with Rubio's staff. Activist Daniel Barajas, with the Forward With Your Promise caravan, told the Orlando Sentinel that the meeting with Rubio's State Director Todd Reid was an "open and welcoming discussion."
The coalition also says it will hold President Obama accountable to his 2008 promise for immigration reform. The White House has signaled it will make a push as early as this month. Rubio had been working on an alternative to the Dream Act that would provide legal status -- but not a special pathway -- for some children of illegal immigrants. He's called for an incremental approach rather than a sprawling piece of legislation.
Background on the march to Washington below:
From a news release:
"This country’s immigration system is broken. The marchers are asking Senator Rubio and President Obama to take leadership on true immigration reform, with papers, with a green card. The Forward-With-Your-Promise Caravan evolved from the Knee-A-Thon Pilgrimage. In 2011, Santos de La Rosa began a Knee-A-Thon Pilgrimage Sebring, Florida. Santos de la Rosa and Immigration Information Advocates, Inc., exposed the pain of families separated by Obama’s deportation and detention policies.
"The Caravan will reach Washington, DC, on January 20th , 2013, in time for the Inauguration. The Caravan will hold President Obama accountable to his 2008 promise to pass a comprehensive immigration reform, with a pathway to citizenship, during his first term.
"The Centro Campesino Farmworkers Ministry, Farmworker Association of Florida, Farmworkers Self-Help, , Redlands Christian Migrant Association, WeCount!, and Young American Dreamers - have joined forces with de la Rosa, breathing new life into the Knee-A-Thon. The Caravan expects to make stops in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, and Virginia."