State lawmakers, labor groups, and immigration advocates assembled at the State Capitol today to throw their support behind national immigration reform.
The groups voiced their support for one of the more controversial parts of immigration reform---a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Jeffrey Tapia, the executive director of the Latin American Association, said the issue also affects legal immigrants.
“There are many, many families who have mixed immigration status and are struggling," Tapia said, "We have seen their hopes, their dreams, their contributions and their struggles.”
Helen Kim Ho, the executive director and lead attorney for the Asian American Legal Advocacy Center, said the U.S. also needs to fix its visa system.
“The lack of employment visas to hire needed, highly-skilled immigrant workers from countries like India and China, among others, are hurting our country’s business innovation and economy,” Ho said.
Governor Deal signed Georgia’s tough immigration law. But didn't take a stand on the issue.
"I simply am in the posture of most people in this country," Deal said, "We will wait and see what the federal government decides to do about a very difficult issue."
The coalition agrees on the need for federal reform, and says it shouldn't be handled at the state level.