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Allentown immigration rally encourages reform

WFMZ-TV - June 18, 2013, By Rosa Duarte - A big vote on immigration reform is coming up in the U.S. Senate next week and that has local politicians and community leaders sounding off on the issue.

Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski took part in an immigration rally Tuesday at City Hall accompanied by City Council President, Julio Guridy.

The event, organized by a local democratic and immigrant support group had just one message and that is to urge Senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey to vote in favor of the senate's immigration bill.

“I think it's critical for our American economy, I think it's critical for our city, I think it's critical for the country as a whole to get behind comprehensive immigration reform that has a path to citizenship,” said Pawlowski.

However that may not be easy, the bill would offer a 13-year path to citizenship for the nation's 11-million undocumented immigrants.

Even if the Senate approves the bill, it could face a tough fight in the GOP-controlled House.

"Any immigration reform bill that is going into law ought to have the majority of both parties support, if we are really serious about making that happen. I don't see any way of bringing an immigration bill to the floor that doesn't have a majority support of Republicans," said House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday.

A recent poll done by CNN/ORC shows a small majority of Americans in support of the Senate's immigration bill. With 51% in favor and 45% against.

When it comes to a pathway to citizenship only 36% of those polled believe that should be the government's main focus while 62% say there needs to be an increase in border security.

Regardless, those who spoke at Tuesday's rally believe Washington is closer than ever in passing meaningful reform.

"They've been talking about it for some time, they have tried so many times and have failed. and I think in a bipartisan way with this gang of eight I think they're going to be successful," said City Council President, Julio Guridy.

Boehner is scheduled to meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wednesday to discuss immigration reform.

The senate is expected to have its vote on the bill by the end of next week.