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Thousands of Pro-Immigration Advocates Lobby in Washington


Thousands of pro-immigration advocates are in Washington to rally for comprehensive immigration reform.

The activists from across the country represent union members, citizens and others. They are meeting with lawmakers and staff in the House and the Senate.

The Senate Wednesday voted unanimously to exclude from possible citizenship, illegal immigrants who have been convicted of a felony or three misdemeanors.

Tuesday, the Senate rejected a plan to first secure the U.S.-Mexico border before considering other immigration measures. It also approved moving forward on a guest worker program for illegal immigrants and creating a path to citizenship.

President Bush is calling for comprehensive immigration reform that includes heightening border security while addressing the issue of the millions of illegal immigrants already in the country.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said he hopes for a Senate vote on the legislation by the end of next week.

President Bush has called for the creation of a temporary worker program, and has said he will send 6,000 National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexican border.

His proposals face a battle in the House of Representatives, which passed a bill in December that would make living in the U.S. illegally a felony and calls for building a fence along much of the U.S.-Mexican border.

The House and the Senate bills would have to be reconciled in a final bill.

But conservative House Republicans say they will oppose final legislation that provides for a guest worker program and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.