Demonstrators Pressure Congress Days from Immigration Deal

A bipartisan bill on immigration reform is expected this week, and a committee hearing on the legislation could be held as early as next week.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Tuesday that the members of the “gang of eight” are hoping to unveil the legislation before lawmakers leave town for the weekend.

“There is a time for everything. You either get it done or you don’t,” McCain said to reporters. “Now is the time to get it done as quickly as possible.”

Many Republicans are unwilling to support any measure that would put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship. Some have expressed their openness to some form of legalization that stops short of granting citizenship, which they amount to amnesty that would only encourage more to cross the border illegally.

In addition to a path to citizenship, the bill is expected to offer a new visa program for low-skilled and farm workers, increased border control, and the elimination of some categories of family visas.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers continues to work on its own immigration bill, according to the Hill.

Speaking for a group of House members at the rally, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) made a vow to make immigration reform a reality this year. He also said that Latino voters delivered for President Obama last year, and now he must fulfill his promise to legalize many of the estimated 11 million living in the U.S. illegally.

“Work hard. Push us. Keep pushing us, and together we will deliver immigration reform this year. You need to guarantee that you give me and my colleagues in the U.S. Congress no place to hide. There are no acceptable excuses for failing to pass immigration reform this year and no excuses will be accepted,” said Gutierrez.

Many in the crowd said they were hoping Congress would act on immigration reform soon, including Alicia Gomez, a D.C. area local.

“I’d like to see immigration reform in the coming months, so that families are no longer separated and children aren’t left alone in this country,” said Gomez.