Dozens call upon CNY lawmakers for immigration reform

While thousands rallied for immigration reform in the nation's capitol on Wednesday, dozens pushed for action outside the Federal Building in Syracuse.

The Central New York Committee on Immigration Reform wants lawmakers to reign in what it calls "aggressive surveillance of immigration enforcement at border control." In other words, the coalition is asking lawmakers to take another look at the duties of border patrol employees, claiming in some cases, the job description does not match actions.

Barrie Gewanter, of the CNY Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, says she would also like to see lawmakers take steps to stop abuse from local police in asking questions about an individual's immigration status when they're stopped for traffic violations.

Gewanter and members of the committee took their concerns before Senator Schumer's Office Wednesday morning.

They want Congress to pass an immigration reform package that includes a clear and direct path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

"We ask for explicit protection for people who choose to come forward and register their names and locations with federal immigration authorities in order to apply for provisional status," Gewanter says. "Without that protection, no one will come out of the shadows. They know it's not safe."

The coalition wants a spotlight put on bringing families together.

"The main thing we need to see here is the unification of families, so we will be very afraid if something important as families staying here with their American citizen children is not included in the package," says Maria Revelles, administrative organizer of 1199, the Service Employees International Union. "It's something we wouldn't support, we really want that in the packet."

The Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Eight" is expected to release its plan this week.