By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Busloads of Philadelphians departed this morning for our nation’s capitol, to take part in a national rally that calls for immediate action on immigration reform.
Immigration reform was a key issue during the presidential election last fall. In fact, the Latino and Asian vote was critical to Obama’s reëlection effort, but gun control and other priorities seem to have taken the spotlight off their cause.
“They’re talking about immigration reform, but they don’t say when it’ll come out,” says activist Olivia Vasquez, 18. She has been in America since she was ten years old and says the reality is that families are being destroyed while they await immigration reform.
Vasquez says they are going to Washing to demand action now.
“We want a moratorium on deportation because, as we speak right now, people are being deported,” she says.
A clear path to citizenship, a process for reuniting families, and labor reforms are other key issues the demonstrators want the federal government to tackle.
“My clients are routinely paid less than minimum wage, paid no overtime, and when they try to exercise their rights they are threatened by their employers,” says attorney Nedia Hawkia of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition.
According research by the Pew Center, more than 160,000 unauthorized immigrants currently live in Pennsylvania.