Immigration activists are planning more protests this week to press for immigration reform, despite the House Republican responsible for counting votes on legislation saying nothing would happen on the issue this year.
Later this week, dozens of children from around the country plan to visit with House GOP members to tell their stories of being separated from family members who have been deported.
News that Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House majority whip, had crossed off immigration reform as a possibility for this year came in a conference call with reporters hosted by America’s Voice, an immigration group.
Angelica Salas, who heads the Coalition for Humane Immigration Rights of Los Angeles or CHIRLA, said McCarthy, the House’s No. 3 Republican, had told a group of people protesting at his district office last week that it wouldn’t happen this year.
“It is an outrage that a member of the House leadership is saying there will not be a vote on a path to citizenship this year. Is he speaking for the rest of leadership?,” America’s Voice executive director Frank Sharry said in a statement Monday.
“The idea that there isn’t enough time to vote on immigration is absurd … Passing immigration reform isn’t a matter of the calendar, it’s a matter of will,” Sharry said.
Immigration activists were at McCarthy’s district office Wednesday and Thursday. According to Salas, McCarthy came to his office at 11 p.m. last Thursday to meet with the protesters.
“He reiterated to us he was committed to reform, that he wanted to do this piecemeal strategy, which he talked to us in August. But we explained to him we haven’t seen any action,” Salas said. “He explained to us he felt there wasn’t enough time … to get things done this year. We countered very strongly we know when there’s political will there’s political time.”
“He stated that his commitment was for 2014 and so our push … is that we need action now,” Salas said.
Erica Elliott, a spokeswoman for McCarthy, told The Associated Press Friday that McCarthy supports fixing the immigration system and address immigration reform issue-by-issue.
Comment from the offices of House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor could not be immediately obtained Monday, a federal holiday.
There have been a mix of projections on what might happen with immigration reform, but also on the horizon for the Congress is working out a budget by December.