Immigration caravan planned to urge for speedy reform

Miami immigration activists plan to stage a caravan of vehicles from Little Havana to Doral next week to push for speedy enactment of immigration reform to legalize the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.

Francisco Portillo, president of the Francisco Morazan Honduran Organization, a pro-immigrant lobbying group, appealed to employers in the Miami area to give employees a half-day break to allow them to take part in the demonstration.

“Our message is going to be clear: We have to act now and approve immigration reform now,” said Portillo.

The event is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1, which is the international Labor Day.

The caravan will be the second major pro-immigration reform demonstration in recent weeks.

On April 6, more than 2,000 people marched through downtown Miami to demand immigration reform.

Some of the organizations that took part in the April 6 event are also involved in the May 1 caravan. Portillo said he expects between 300 and 400 people to take part.

Activists, who provided details at a news conference at a Salvadoran restaurant on Flagler Street, said the caravan will begin at 2 p.m. in front of St. Michael’s church, 2987 W. Flagler St.

It will then proceed west on Flagler Street, turn right on Northwest 87th Avenue, and end at the junction of Northwest 87th Avenue and 36th Street in Doral where the offices of Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart are located.

The two, both Republicans, are Cuban-American lawmakers spearheading immigration reform legislation in Congress.

Portillo said participants in the caravan plan a vigil in front of the lawmakers’ offices to thank them for the work on immigration reform and urge speedy enactment of the legislation.

Portillo also spoke of the activists’ quest for one million signatures from all over the country to push for immigration reform.

Once they reach the target, he said, activists will present the petition to the Senate, the House of Representatives and the White House.

Enrique Pacheco, an evangelical pastor from Ecuador, said politicians ought to stop their rhetoric and ensure that immigration reform is enacted.

Pacheco’s daughter, Gaby, was one of four young immigrant activists who walked to Washington D.C. to push for similar reforms in 2010.

Pacheco and Portillo also demanded that President Barack Obama issue an executive order stopping all deportations of undocumented immigrants pending action by Congress on immigration reform.’

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