March 19th, 2010
09:36 AM ET

Thousands to rally around immigration plan

Thousands of people are expected to pour into Washington for a Sunday rally demanding immigration reform, launching the first public battle over the issue since the announcement of a new bipartisan plan endorsed by President Barack Obama.

While the nation will be focused largely on a more immediate debate - an expected vote over health care reform - the march on the National Mall will be setting the stage for a whole new fight over another of the most contentious issues facing the country.

The organization Reform Immigration for America, which supports a path to citizenship for those in the United States illegally, says the changes it wants to see will help bring about "economic justice for all Americans."

In response, the Federation for American Immigration Reform - which staunchly opposes amnesty - called on Americans to contact their representatives and demand tougher borders and an end to illegal immigration. FAIR says it seeks "effective, sensible immigration policies that work for America's best interests."

In a column published Friday in the Washington Post, the two senators behind the new immigration plan say "The American people deserve more than empty rhetoric and impractical calls for mass deportation."

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, lay out broad ideas for fixing a "badly broken" system.

"Our plan has four pillars: requiring biometric Social Security cards to ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs; fulfilling and strengthening our commitments on border security and interior enforcement; creating a process for admitting temporary workers; and implementing a tough but fair path to legalization" for the 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally, the two lawmakers write.

The plan will "require an effective employment verification system that holds employers accountable for hiring illegal workers," the senators write, including a "tamper-proof ID system."

The plan also would create "a zero-tolerance policy for gang members, smugglers, terrorists and those who commit other felonies after coming here illegally."

"Ending illegal immigration, however, cannot be the sole objective of reform," they add. "Developing a rational legal immigration system is essential to ensuring America's future economic prosperity."

After meeting with Schumer and Graham - both powerful figures within their parties - earlier this week, President Obama issued a statement saying he was "pleased" to see their "promising, bipartisan framework which can and should be the basis for moving forward. It thoughtfully addresses the need to shore up our borders, and demands accountability from both workers who are here illegally and employers who game the system."

The "critical next step," Obama said: turning the framework into legislation. He called on Congress "to act at the earliest possible opportunity."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Congress • Immigration
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. AE

    Wouldn't this rally be a great opportunity for the Department of Homeland Security to round them up and deport them? I can't imagine this happening in any other country!

    March 19, 2010 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Daryl Minor

      I'm a legal American citizen and I must show my ID when:

      1. Pulled over by the police.

      2. Making purchases on my department store credit card.

      3. When I show up for a doctor's appointment.

      4. When filling out a credit card or loan application.

      5. When applying for or renewing a driver's license or passport.

      6. When applying for any kind of insurance.

      7. When filling out college applications.

      8. When donating blood.

      9. When obtaining certain prescription drugs.

      10. When making some debit purchases, especially
      if I'm out of state.

      11. When collecting a boarding pass for airline or train travel.

      12. when you go to vote.

      I'm sure there are more instances, but the point is that we citizens of the USA are required to prove who we are nearly every day!

      Why should people in this country illegally, be exempt!!!!!

      Why shouldn't we guard our borders as closely as every other country in the world does?

      June 20, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ayya

    The sole reason for illegal immigration is the no clear road map to immigration. There is a long witing list for people who are already in line for immigating legally. It would take approximately 15-20 years before the current waiting list is cleared. Hope the senete pass a bill to increasie the yearly limit on the number of Green Cards that can be handed over.

    There should also be no line jumping...

    Lets wait and see..!!

    March 19, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Harold

    Insane article. How can you even think about increasing immigration when there is a national 12% unemployment rate. Deportations? They just slip back across the border unimpeded. We don't even have a secure border or even provide workplace enforcement. No jobs, no true industries and you want to legalize millions of people who have little respect for America and then on top of that you want a steady stream of unskilled labor?

    March 19, 2010 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sparks

    My west european 68 year old companion wanted a green card since we met seven years ago. She is financially secure and not looking for or needing any American monitary benefits or employment. We are not married for financial reasons only. No green card despite repeated requests and attempts at the ridiculous Lottery. She no longer cares and has her pride. The USA only wants Social Service-bound candidates from Central America.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Harold


    Obama is attempting to create a giant welfare state under total government control.

    March 19, 2010 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
  6. Sparks

    I should have mentioned that we live six months in Europe and six months in the States. She does not overstayher six month visa. Let that be clear. She is not illegal.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. david

    It is still a crime, If you sneak into Mexico you go to prison.

    March 19, 2010 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  8. James

    I do believe that if they were to ask whereany of your parents originated from no one would answer.There for, guys i would request you to have smecompassion knowing that today its me then toorrow will be yours.And besides GOd created all this much big space with an idea that all who get the chance to be annointed with it can enjoy the fruitfulness of the states.Please just be nice and put your feet in our shoes.

    March 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jenny

    How ironic it is to see the descendants of immigrants whom, not too ling ago, were once scapegoated and discriminated against themselves (Irish, Italians, Germans, etc.), inflict the same injustices to powerless, exploited individuals. How easy and cowardly it is to bully a group of people who essentially cannot do anything to defend themselves.

    March 26, 2010 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mary

    james this is for you.. I do not want to see families broken up or children that havebeen born here to lose their parents. This is the fault of our gov ( and am sure the corporatons)

    I honestly do not know the answer, but our goveernment has never enforced laws that are in effect. I guess if we the american people knew the real answer as to why, it would be just other sham from our gov... I wish for the perfect planet. but we will never get that here. I think the immigrants need to stop protesting and acting like they "deserve" to be here, all the time ignoring the problems that we are having because of this. It seems mexico can be a dangerous place to live and no-one should have to live in fear

    we have created amess by not enforcing our laws.. and now it has all come to this..

    but you cannot expect people here to be accepting when it is costing them money..

    what is the answer for all of us? there seems to be none. I wish james and those in his position the best, tomorrow it may be us, but is that not the way of our world?

    April 27, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |