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Central New York News

Utica Immigration Reform Rally Set For April 10

An immigration reform rally is set to go on Wednesday in Utica ... With the call for comprehensive immigration reform taking center stage on Capitol Hill, a group of Central New Yorkers is meeting in Utica Wednesday in a show of support. Utica Organizer and political activist Diane Berry says the local rally is timed to coincide with a larger one in Washington D.C.

New Jersey Congressman Donald Payne Junior, a Democrat, says the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States are already making major economic contributions, and now the nation needs to afford them a path to citizenship.

Payne spoke over the weekend at the  "Time is Now" rally in New Jersey's Liberty State Park. He pointed out that the recent agreement between the U-S Chamber of Commerce and labor leaders regarding visas and low-skilled workers was a major sign of progress. He says if those two sides can come together, then both Democrats and Republicans in Congress should be able to act now on comprehensive immigration reform. Diane Berry agrees.

Numbers USA, a national group that supports lower levels of legal and illegal immigration, did not immediately respond to a call for comment.

Eight U.S. Senators are in the final stages of crafting a bipartisan immigration bill that could be ready to debate this week. New York Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the bipartisan group's leaders, told CBS-TV's "Face the Nation" that a  comprehensive immigration reform bill that includes a pathway to citizenship could be formally presented by week's end.

An immigration deal came close in 2007 but collapsed amid interest group bickering and an angry public backlash.

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