SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) Supporters of immigration reform gathered in front of Representative Nancy Pelosi’s San Francisco home Saturday joining some 150 rallies nationwide on a day billed as the “National Day for Dignity and Respect.”
In Southern California, about 2,000 supporters marched through Hollywood to spur congressional action just as California’s governor signed a series of bills on the topic, saying he was not going to wait on Washington.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that included a bill prohibiting local law enforcement agencies from detaining people for deportation if they are arrested for a minor crime and otherwise eligible to be released from custody.
“While Washington waffles on immigration, California’s forging ahead,” Brown said. “I’m not waiting.”
March organizers in Los Angeles had expected tens of thousands to turn out to the rally, but roughly 2,000 people participated.
The mobilization is a prelude to a rally and free concert Tuesday on the National Mall in Washington.
The chances an immigration bill makes its way through Congress before the year ends are slim. But advocates want to make sure reform stays front and center despite lawmakers’ pressing concerns.
The Alliance for Citizenship, a broad coalition of organizations that includes the AFL-CIO, the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center, is driving the mobilization.
Twenty cities in California were staging events Saturday to show their support.
Among the eight immigration-related measures Brown signed was AB4, sponsored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, which creates a statewide standard for how local agencies comply with the federal Secure Communities program, which requires law enforcement to check the immigration status of anyone who is arrested.
The governor vetoed a similar measure last year because it did not let officials detain those convicted of crimes such as child abuse and drug trafficking, exemptions that were removed from this year’s version.
The governor also approved a bill allowing lawyers to be admitted to the California bar even if they are living in the U.S. illegally.
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