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Immigration reform supporters rally in Los Angeles, Sacramento

March 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
In Los Angeles, supporters of immigration reform on Monday rallied in front of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office to keep the pressure up. Up at the State Capitol, there was a similar demonstration.

The message, "Keep Families Together," is the latest push to get Congress to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., with young faces front and center.

The Magallanes family of San Jose are worried dad Jose will be deported. His wife and three kids are American-born, but with a previous deportation on his record, citizenship is unattainable even through marriage.

"My husband is undocumented. For me and for my kids, we'll be very devastated if he gets taken away," said Janet Alavarez Magallanes.

Some political watchers believe this may finally be the year immigration reform will happen. Republicans suffered huge losses during the November election, partly because they alienated so many Latinos with harsh rhetoric on immigration.

"Look, there's two ways to handle a loss. You can deny it or you can learn from it. I think Republicans are beginning to learn from it," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield).

At last weekend's state GOP convention, Republicans elected a new leader charged with re-branding the party. Already, one former minuteman has backed off his hard stance against illegal immigrants and insists instead on talking about Republican principals of free markets and less government.

"Go to the community and listen. And then have a conversation instead of just making assumptions that if you pander on this one issue that somehow you're going to wind up with votes," said Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks).

Participants at both the Los Angeles and Sacramento rallies boarded busses, hoping the new Republican effort opens the door to votes on immigration reform. The final stop is Bakersfield on Wednesday to rally at McCarthy's office.

While the momentum appears to be gaining, it'll still be an uphill battle for Congress to pass immigration reform. Just last week, the two parties couldn't agree on ways to avoid the sequester cuts. An agreement on immigration reform could be just as hard.


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