Bay Area group marching for immigration reform

August 14, 2013 11:46:16 AM PDT
A coalition of groups on the path to citizenship plan to hit the road Wednesday to campaign for immigration reform. The caravan will leave from the San Jose home of a family which produced the legendary civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

With Congress on an August recess, supporters of immigration reform believe this is the perfect time to get the attention of lawmakers. So, they are going to march on Bakersfield to the office of Republican Congressman Kevin McCarthy.

The 22-day journey starts in San Jose outside the Chavez family home where the farm workers' rights movement took shape. Hundreds of workers will make their way to Bakersfield to rally outside the district office of Congressman and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy.

"It's at the point where the system is completely broken. U.S. children having to decide, having to choose between growing up with their parents or growing up in their country of origin, and that's not right," marcher Teresa Castelllanos said.

Castellanos is a county worker. Others joining her are religious and labor leaders. As they walk and ride for 22 days, they hope to enlist other supporters of immigration reform. Librado Chavez sees a similarity here to the way his brother Cesar Chavez organized marches to support farm workers.

"It reminds me of when Cesar used to do his own marches. He started like we are here, a few people. Give them the idea of what's going to happen, what we're trying to do, and at the same time, asking people to, hey, bring friends," Cesar Chavez's brother Librado Chavez.

No one knows how large the numbers will grow, but there are other groups leaving Sacramento and San Diego that will also converge on Bakersfield on Labor Day. A separate group is leaving in the morning for a two-day bus trip to Bakersfield. The marchers all hope the Republican House leaders will realize their support could result in future votes.

"The only reason that we're having an immigration reform conversation to start with is because of the high number of Latinos that came out to vote in 2012, and the majority of them came in favor of President Obama, who was always supportive of immigration reforms," community organizer Lucila Ortiz told ABC7 News.

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