Immigration reform activists camped out at Capitol

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- With a major announcement regarding a proposed overhaul of the nation's immigration laws expected in just a few hours, local supporters of immigration reform are camped out at the Arizona Capitol.

Members of Promise Arizona, who spent the night outside the Capitol, are hoping their peaceful vigil encourages lawmakers to develop an immigration policy that includes a path to citizenship for those who are in the country illegally. They also want immigration laws that don't tear apart families.

Immigration reform has been a hot-button throughout the country, especially here in Arizona, for quite some time. Groups like Promise Arizona say that to effect real change, they need to get involved in politics.

"We've got to connect the fact that Latinos voted because they wanted immigration reform to be a priority," explained Petra Falcon, the executive director of Promise Arizona. "We need to make sure that this year, immigration reform is a priority Congress and the White House."

“Our focus is on family unity,” Falcon said on the Promise Arizona website. “The laws and policies in place today are ripping families apart. Lives are being destroyed. Tens of thousands of children are being separated from their parents, who came to the United States not to harm America but to help build America. It’s time the United States government and its people lived up to our democratic ideals and justice.”

According to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, more than 60 percent of Americans favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“The tide is turning in Arizona and across the country in favor of treating immigrants humanely, even as we acknowledge how valuable they are to our country’s future, socially, political and economically,” said Raquel Teran, state director for Mi Famlia Vota, is a new release. “We’ve spent years inviting immigrants to come to the United States often to work in jobs most Americans won’t take, and now the polls show a majority supports a path to citizenship. Congress and President Obama need to listen to the voters, including the growing Latino voting base, and pass humane comprehensive immigration reform now.”

Promise Arizona will host a news conference later this morning to "announce a concerted local, state and national campaign that highlights the impact of federal immigration policy on immigrants and their family."