Immigration reform protesters converge on Bakersfield, Calif.

Aug. 14, 2013 at 5:56 PM

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Immigration reform activists traveled to Bakersfield, Calif., Wednesday to hold a rally at the office of a congressman they say has been delaying reform.

Numbering in the thousands in what organizers called the largest caravan in state history, the activists descended on the office of Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy, KTLA-TV, Los Angeles reported.

"The message to Congressman McCarthy, the third-ranking GOP member in the House, our representative, is we want a vote on immigration reform with a path to citizenship now," said Jorge-Mario Cabrera of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.

The march was organized by a coalition of labor, religious and immigrant rights groups to support a bipartisan Senate bill granting a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Eliseo Medina of the AFL-CIO said protesters want to send a message to House Republicans, who have indicated they would not support the bill.

"If they want us to vote for them, they've got to vote for us first," he said.

McCarthy writes, on his website, the United States "should not provide any amnesty that would benefit those who defy our laws and enter the United States illegally."

McCarthy visited Israel Wednesday with other Republican leaders, and was not at his Bakersfield office, KTLA-TV reported.

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