Tens of thousands of immigrants and activists have rallied across the US to support a bill that would contain a long-term path to citizenship for most of the country's 11 million undocumented migrants.
In support of an upcoming Senate bill, tens of thousands of protestors rallied from Atlanta to San Francisco Wednesday, calling for comprehensive changes to immigration policy and an end to deportation. The largest crowds convened on the US capital, Washington DC.
The highly anticipated Senate bill is now expected to be unveiled as early as Monday, Democrat Robert Menendez said at a rally outside the US Capitol Wednesday. Menendez is one of eight senators - four Democrats and four Republicans - tasked with creating the bill.
Several members of the so-called Gang of Eight have said the bill would contain a long-term path to citizenship for most of the country's 11 million undocumented migrants.
The bill will include an expansion of quotas of foreign workers, as well as demand rigorous new tightening of border security measures.
Immigration reform has been a key focus for Obama's second term, and he called on Congress to quickly pass an immigration bill during his State of Union address in February.
Organizers said demonstrations were taking place in at least 18 states and in Washington, where a large crowd gathered outside the US Capitol building.
"We won't win immigration reform just coming to Washington. We need to walk the streets all over the country," said Ben Monterroso, national director of civic participation of the Service Employees International Union said.
In 2010, Congress debated but did not pass the DREAM Act, which would have granted legal status to young immigrants living illegally in the country.
The United States currently deports about 400,000 people annually.
hc/rg (AP, AFP)