By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A diverse coalition of community groups, immigration advocates, and faith-based organizations announced today that they have joined forces to campaign for immigration reform.

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It was standing room only at the District Council 47 headquarters in Philadelphia as the newly formed Pennsylvania United for Immigration Reform made a collective statement on the type of comprehensive legislation they would like to see.

“We reject immigration reform that separates our community, that categorizes our community by professional versus unskilled, by DACA beneficiaries versus non-DACA beneficiaries,” said Blanca Pacheco of the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia (in top photo).  “We want immigration reform that is inclusive!”

(DACA is “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival,” a proposal of the Obama administration that would give certain legal rights to illegal immigrants who arrived as children, have not returned to their home country, and do not have a criminal record here.)

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Philadelphia city councilmembers James Kenney and  Maria Quinones-Sanchez  (below) said they will introduce a resolution in City Council tomorrow supporting comprehensive, fair, and humane immigration reforms.

(Philadelphia councilmembers Maria Quinones-Sanchez and James Kenney.  Credit: Cherri Gregg)

(Philadelphia councilmembers Maria Quinones-Sanchez and James Kenney. Credit: Cherri Gregg)


Kenney says immigration is the reason that Philadelphia’s population is growing for the first time in decades.  “It’s because of Latino immigration, Asian immigration.  We need to keep filling up our cities,” he said.

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The groups say they plan to use the momentum from last November’s election to host programs across the state leading up to a national effort in Washington, DC in the spring.