Immigration activists, labor groups to descend on Capitol on Wednesday

Liz Goodwin
The Ticket

Labor and immigration advocacy groups are planning a rally of tens of thousands of supporters on Wednesday afternoon to urge lawmakers to pass immigration reform.

Organizers of the "rally for citizenship"—which include the Service Employees International Union and several civil rights and immigrant advocacy groups—say people from dozens of states will gather at the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

"Politicians learned a lesson this past election cycle: They ignore Latinos and immigrants at their own peril," Gustavo Torres, director of the CASA de Maryland advocacy group, told reporters on Monday. "Our communities are getting more frustrated and angry at the politicians who are delaying progress."

A draft version of the immigration bill was expected to be released early this week, but members of the bipartisan group of eight senators working on the draft pushed that deadline back on Sunday. Disagreements between labor and business groups over how many low-skilled guest workers should be allowed into the country each year under the new immigration system has slowed progress.

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer said on "Face the Nation" that a bipartisan agreement on the bill would happen at the earliest by the end of the week. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" he hoped a draft of the bill will be finished in the next "couple of weeks."

Senators plan to introduce the full bill to the Senate floor in June. President Barack Obama said he wants to sign the bill into law before the end of the year, and he has threatened to introduce his own version of an immigration reform bill if lawmakers can't come to an agreement.