RENO —Rep. Mark Amodei lent his support to immigration activists who took part in a Reno march on Saturday, and pledged to work with leaders of both parties to ensure passage of immigration legislation.
The Nevada Republican greeted activists at his Reno office, spoke about 10 minutes and passed out water to them before they marched about 3 miles to the landmark Reno Arch.
He told them he recognizes the need for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system and has been working hard to secure passage of immigration legislation.
Over 300 immigration activists marched from four different locations, including Amodei’s office, to the Reno Arch. Speakers there urged them to keep up pressure on Congress to enact immigration legislation.
Amodei has said he supports legislation that allows immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship after undergoing a 10-year probationary period, passing background checks, learning English and American civics, and proving they have jobs and are not dependent on government aid.
Many House Republicans question the offer of citizenship to people who broke U.S. immigration laws to be in the country.
Organizers praised Amodei’s support of Saturday’s march, saying they appreciate his leadership on the issue.
“Congressman Amodei previously told us he would speak out ‘forcefully’ in favor of comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship,” Bob Fulkerson, state director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, said in a statement. “We are hopeful that with his leadership we can pass a bill this year so that no more Nevada families are separated as a result of a broken immigration system.”
Activists presented Amodei with a petition asking House leaders for swift action on immigration legislation. The Senate has passed a bill that includes billions for border security, a reworked legal immigration system to allow tens of thousands of high- and low-skilled workers into the country and a 13-year path to citizenship for those living here illegally.
Marchers chanted and waved placards reading, “Fix Our Broken Immigration System,” “Keep Families Together” and “No Human Being Is Illegal.”
Speakers from the NAACP, Catholic Church and the University of Nevada, Reno, were among those addressing the crowd at the arch.
Organizer Cory Hernandez said the most moving moment came when 25 young American-born children with “undocumented” parents came forward and recited the Pledge of Allegiance of the United States.
“We keep hearing that immigration reform is dead,” Hernandez said. “The reason we gathered here is to send the message that we are not going to let that happen. This isn’t a party issue, it’s a justice issue.”