Pinoys lobby for immigration reform in Congress

By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jan 30 2013 06:25 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2013 02:25 AM

LOS ANGELES - They've been fighting for it and with President Obama touting the Senate's progress on comprehensive immigration reform advocates are welcoming the possibilities of a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“Sa akin OK na ito. Let's start with this and kung ano pa ma-push natin, pero with a very clear mindset na, as long as there's a path to citizenship,” said Lolita Andrada Lledo of the Pilipino Workers Center.

Filipino Republicans also look forward to the reform but are unsure if there will truly be an impact.

“We should address it long term, the last immigration reform was 1982 during the Reagan administration. It was suppose to solve the illegal immigration also and there were 4 million illegal immigrants that benefited from the immigration reform and now we have 11 million illegal Immigrants,” said Dr. Leo Pandac, spokesperson of the National Asian Republican Coalition.

Pandac, a former executive director for the National Asian American Republican Council, believes the reform may be hindered by Republican lawmakers facing elections in conservative districts.

“The problem will be in the Lower House in Congress, because of the Republicans, they're running their district. In their district people are against immigration so they have to be against immigration or they're not coming back to Congress,” said Pandac.

Lledo said advocates are planning legislative visits and aggressive lobbying as lawmakers create and debate over the reform.

She is going to Washington D.C. in the next two weeks to meet with other immigration advocacy groups as they push for the reform overhaul and will challenge possible provisions that would restrict undocumented social service recipients from getting on the path to citizenship.