California demonstrators push for immigration reform


The November election highlighted the growing influence of Latinos and now they are flexing their collective muscle.

In Los Angeles, supporters of immigration reform rallied in front of Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein's office to keep the pressure up. There was a similar demonstration at the State Capitol in Sacramento.

Keep Families Together is the latest push to get Congress to legalize millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States with young faces front and center.

The Magallanes family of San Jose are worried their patriarch, Jose will be deported. His wife and three kids are American-born but with a previous deportation on his record, citizenship is unattainable even through marriage.

"My husband is undocumented. For me and for my kids, we'll be very devastated if he gets taken away," said Janet Alvarez Magallanes.

Some political watchers believe this may finally be the year immigration reform will happen, especially after Republicans suffered huge losses during the November election partly because they alienated so many Latinos with harsh rhetoric on immigration.

"Look, there's two ways to handle a loss. You can deny it or you can learn from it. I think the Republicans are beginning to learn from it," said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield

At last weekend's state GOP convention, Republicans elected a new leader charged with re-branding the party.

Already, one former Minuteman has backed off his hard stance against illegal immigrants and insists instead on talking about Republican principals of free markets and less government.

"Go the community and listen and then have a conversation, instead of just making assumptions that if you pander on this one issue that somehow you're going to wind up with votes," said Assm. Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks

Participants at both the Los Angeles and Sacramento rallies boarded busses hoping the new Republican attitude opens the door to votes on immigration reform.

The final stop is Bakersfield for rally at Congressman McCarthy's office on Wednesday.

"We need immigrant reform for our family to stay together," said Janet Andrea Magallanes, a child of an undocumented father.

Last week both Democrats and Republicans in Congress couldn't agree on ways to avoid the sequester cuts. An agreement on immigration reform might be just as difficult.

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