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Flurry of Immigration Lobbying Begins With August Recess

Starting today, Congress is on recess until Sept. 9. And activists on both sides of immigration reform debate have pledged to keep the focus on that issue while members of the House are back in their districts.
The New York Times editorial board had this forecast on Sunday on efforts to revitalize the push for comprehensive immigration reform: "Pressure makes heat, and a hot summer is about to get even hotter."

The grassroots group Organizing for Action -- which began as the movement to elect and reelect President Barack Obama -- has declared today a day of action on comprehensive immigration reform. The group is calling on House Republicans to support the bipartisan comprehensive reform bill passed by the Senate in June, despite the fact that Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly said he will not bring the Senate bill for vote. 

Here in Arizona, the group is rallying in front of Republican Rep. Matt Salmon's office in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert. An action at the office of fellow GOP House member, Rep. Trent Franks, is scheduled for later in the day.

Meanwhile, a statewide coalition that wants a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally has promised lobbying activities over the recess, including vigils and canvassing. Over the weekend, they gathered outside of a Scottsdale fundraiser that featured GOP majority whip Eric Cantor, and last week, one local leader was arrested on Capitol Hill as part of a civil disobedience action for immigration reform.

They aren't the only ones busy organizing.

According to the Arizona Republic, the Phoenix-based Remember 1986 Coalition, which opposes legalizing immigrants in the country illegally, is planning a road trip to the offices of all nine members of Arizona's House delegation to deliver petitions. And Roy Beck, who leads the national group, NumbersUSA told Fronteras Desk that his group is contacting members of Congress with the message to: "Block anything on immigration from coming to the floor and focus on those things that will help the economy and get Americans back to work."

What remains to be seen is just how big these efforts will be on the ground. 

Back in 2007, grassroots opponents of immigration reform -- led by NumbersUSA -- are credited with successfully derailing immigration reform legislation through their advocacy.

But while activists declare they are lobbying with urgency this month, their efforts won't necessarily be immediately evident. Lawmakers have indicated October is likely the soonest the House would take up immigration-related bills.

Jude Joffe-Block was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2010 to 2017.