CHICAGO (CBS) — Talk of a political compromise on the nation’s immigration policies dominated a rally and workshops on the issue Saturday at Malcolm X College.
A series of speakers said the Republican Party is now willing to listen, because of defeats in November that could be traced to Hispanic voters.
Activist Mehrdad Azeman said the goal is a clear and direct path to citizenship for the undocumented.
“If there is a path to citizenship that is 25 years long and littered with glass, we can’t stand for that,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) said the speed with which a compromise is reached will correspond to the political pressure that is levied.
“We need to continue to press the Congress of the United States because nothing happens in Washington, D.C., without a consistent and persistent demand outside of Washington, D.C.,and that’s your responsibility,” he said.
Republican politicians attended, accepted thanks for backing recently successful efforts to permit undocumented Illinois residents to get driver’s licenses, and were listening. Illinois House Republican leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) said he is on board.
“It is about fairness,” Cross said. “It is about justice. It is about equality. And at the end of the day it’s about our families and keeping them intact.”
But U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said she is waiting to see what U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says about immigration policy in Tuesday’s Republican response to the State of the Union Address.
“Listen carefully for the words ‘the clear and direct path to citizenship,'” she said. “If he doesn’t say that let’s hold him accountable.”
State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) said the partisan disagreements on immigration policy until now have been an “embarrassment to our country” and a “wound on our collective soul.”