Immigration Advocates Push Republicans To Support Path To Citizenship

Immigration advocates, backed by the White House, have begun a nationwide lobbying campaign, including rallies in more than a dozen cities and a planned demonstration on the Mall.

The loosely coordinated effort is aimed in part at influencing an ongoing debate in the Republican Party over whether to provide a path to citizenship for more than 11 million illegal immigrants, organizers said.

Clarissa Martinez de Castro, an official with the National Council of La Raza, told reporters in a conference call this week that the Republican tactic creates a “false choice” between the extremes of mass deportation and immediate citizenship. In reality, she said, both Obama and a bipartisan Senate working group have advocated a fairly arduous route that would require illegal immigrants to pay back taxes and learn English, among other requirements, before some would earn citizenship.