BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - More than a thousand workers and immigration reform advocates hit the streets of downtown Bakersfield before heading to an immigration reform rally at Yokuts Park today.
With more than 345 cars and buses in tow and more than 5,000 people on board, the largest car and bus caravan in California history came to Bakersfield, Wednesday calling on Congressman Kevin McCarthy to fight for a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship.
“The Path to Citizenship Goes through Bakersfield,” gathered immigrant rights leaders, labor unions, communities of faith, students, LGBT groups, business, elected officials, and other friends and allies at Yokuts Park before marching and rallying in front of Congressman McCarthy’s District Office.
The message to the third-ranking Republican Member of the House: we deserve a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship by September 30.
“The Path to Citizenship Goes through Bakersfield,” is part of national effort under the banner “Countdown to Citizenship,” intent on raising the stakes for immigration reform during the congressional August recess.
The large car and bus caravan highlights the urgency for immigration reform in the immigrant, Latino, and Asian communities who have marched, mobilized, and voted in support of an overhaul for years.
A group of 40 protesters gathered in front of Congressman McCarthy's office to voice their concerns about immigration reform. The group, 'We the People California Crusader', wants illegal immigration stopped.
The group said immigration reform could hurt Americans who are already out of work.
"We want McCarthy to hear the voices of his constituents, not groups from all over California who came up here on a bus," said Robin Hvidston.
The group held signs that said "stop immigration reform" and American flags.
The action they want McCarthy to take is focused on homelessness and veterans for living in poverty.
"We don't need new immigration laws we need the laws that we already have enforced,"said Ralph Roples.
Congressman Kevin McCarthy released this statement:
“I think that it is always healthy to have a dialogue on the important issues of the day, and I welcome folks coming to visit Bakersfield. While I have met with many groups across the spectrum of the immigration reform debate, in the end, I value the input of my constituents in the 23rd Congressional District most. I have long said that our immigration system is broken, but rather than take up the Senate bill, the House will move in a step by step approach that first secures the border.” -Congressman Kevin McCarthy
More than 4 million immigrants have been deported during the past decade as a result of inaction on immigration laws. More actions will follow in August, September, and October.
As a result of the mobilizations organized by immigrants and their allies throughout the U.S., new GOP House members are coming forth to defend a path to citizenship—with dozens more hinting or whispering their support.
Those who have thus far made statements in support of a comprehensive approach to immigration include:
Spencer Bachus (R-AL) Jeff Denham (R-CA) David Valadao (R-CA)
Mark Sanford (R-SC) Greg Walden (R-OR) Paul Ryan (R-WI)
Michael Grimm (R-NY) Darrell Issa (R-CA) Mike Kelly (R-PA)
James Lankford (R-OK) Devin Nunes (R-CA) Joe Heck (R-NV)
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) Pete King (R-NY) Mike Coffman (R-CO)
Raul Labrador (R-ID) Mario Diaz Balart (R-FL) Sam Johnson (R-TX)
John Carter (R-TX) Daniel Webster (R-FL) Aaron Schock (R-IL)
Renee Ellmers (R-NC) David Reichert (R-WA)
The Caravan For Citizenship is a joint collaborative effort by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), The California Table, UFW, and the Kern County Coalition for Citizenship. Other participating organizations include: SEIU State Council, UFW Foundation, Mi Familia Vota, COFEM, PICO California, Campaign for Community Change, CLUE LA, SIREN, KRC, NAKASEC, LA County Federation of Labor – AFL/CIO, SEIU 521, SEIU USWW, SEIU ULTCW, CARECEN Los Angeles, CLC, NBOP, Nuestra Casa, JOB, CAUSE, Equality California, Campaign For Citizenship, and many others.
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