Immigration Reform Activists Try To Pressure GOP

By Jude Joffe-Block
July 10, 2013
Jude Joffe-Block
Activists call voters at a makeshift phone bank outside of Arizona Republican Party headquarters.

Since the United States Senate passed a bipartisan comprehensive bill last month, the fate of immigration reform lies in the House of Representatives.

House Republicans are meeting Wednesday to discuss how to proceed on the issue.

House Speaker John Boehner has said he will not bring a vote on the Senate bill. Instead, he's said the House will work on its own proposal. 

Meanwhile, some activists are trying to keep pressure on the GOP to get behind a comprehensive plan that includes a path to citizenship.

A group of activists spent Tuesday reaching out to voters and asking them to call their House representatives in support of immigration reform. 

The location they chose for their phone bank? A parking lot adjacent to the Arizona state Republican party headquarters.

"What better way to get our point across to the GOP than right next door?" asked Tony Navarrete of Promise Arizona, a group that wants reform to include a path to citizenship.

"We have been working tirelessly to get a vote in the Senate, and we are going to work even harder to get a vote in the House," Navarrete said.

Arizona Republican Party Executive Director Chad Heywood came out of his office to meet the activists.

"They are free to be here and we are happy to have them as long as they are peaceful letting us know what they think," Heywood said. He suggested, however, their advocacy efforts may be wasted on this particular party office. 

"In terms of directly lobbying our elected officials, the Arizona Republican party as an organization, we don't do that at all," Heywood said.

Heywood said that role locally is left to the party's precinct committee members.