Florida immigrant groups urge Congress to pass reform
Florida immigrant groups to Congress: Keep working to pass bipartisan comprehensive reform
Florida immigrant groups are urging Congress to move forward with comprehensive reform after the passage of a bill in the U.S. Senate.
Florida Immigrant Coalition Executive Director Maria Rodriguez spoke alongside a dozen immigrants and advocates holding up signs Friday at Miami's historic Freedom Tower.
"We are here because we believe in equality and opportunity," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said the community needs to continue demanding reform as the bill moves to the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill offers a path to citizenship for those in the U.S. unlawfully while also taking steps to reduce future illegal immigration.
"We are unhappy about some of the amendments," said Marleine Bastien with the Haitian Women of Miami, referring to the bill that calls for billions of dollars to beef up border security. "This is not what we fought for; however, we are encouraged that at least we have taken this first step."
The legislation faces a tough battle in the House, where conservative Republicans hold power.
"What I would say to those who are in the House of Representatives -- if the Republican Party wants to have a moral stand, they need to back this," said Leo Frade with the Episcopal Diocese of Florida. "It is a moral issue, a moral issue that America needs to face. We do it because we remember that Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were undocumented."
Immigrants in Florida held up signs urging lawmakers to keep families united and reminding people the struggle for reform is not yet over.