Latinos prepare for "historic day" promoting immigration reform

Washington, Apr 8 (EFE).- The U.S. immigrant community, with Latinos leading the way, are finishing off preparations for a massive rally Wednesday in Washington promoting immigration reform, which is expected to draw tens of thousands of people for a truly historic day.

"Quite frankly we were hoping (the immigration reform bill) would be out by now," Kica Matos, director of immigrant rights and racial justice for the Center for Community Change, said Monday. "Unfortunately, the disappointing thing is that the Gang of Eight keeps dragging its feet, and it's April and there's no bill."

But, she said, "there's something to be said for the power of having tens of thousands of bodies all coming together for a common interest."

The rally will seek to pressure Congress into making rapid progress with an immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants estimated to live in the United States.

At first the confidence expressed by some senators made it seem possible to have the measure ready this week, but other members of the "Gang of Eight" believe that reaching an agreement on the bill will take a little more time.

Meanwhile the president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Wade Henderson, said that "as Congress continues its efforts to craft legislation that would overhaul our immigration policies," it must take the time necessary "to ensure due process and fairness throughout the system."

He also asserted that immigration is not a Latino matter, it's an American matter.

Protesters have poured into Washington from all 50 states and will meet Wednesday afternoon on the west side of the Capitol, after some of them spend the morning lobbying their congressional representatives to make them understand the urgency of the reform.