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Arizona Groups Push For Immigration Reform In Reconciliation Bill

The U.S. Senate goes back in session next week and a coalition of pro-immigrant groups are pressing Arizona’s two moderate Democrats to deliver a pathway to citizenship for millions.

The massive budget resolution moving through Congress includes $107 billion that could be used to get it done.

The big question is: Will the money still be part of the budget package at the end of the process called reconciliation?

If it is, Senate Democrats could pass immigration reform with 51 votes.

State Rep. Raquel Teran’s signature is among hundreds on a letter urging top Democrats to make sure a road to citizenship is part of the final bill. She was among a handful of speakers at a news conference Thursday at the Arizona Capitol.

“It doesn’t matter what vehicle. We need every single option on the table and right now the option that we have is the budget reconciliation,” she said.

Teran said immigration has been the catalyst for action that led to political change in Arizona over the last decade.

Phoenix Vice Mayor Carlos Garcia later added that the people who took down Arizona’s anti-immigrant leaders like Russell Pearce and Joe Arpaio have become exhausted by promises made by Democrats. He cautioned Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly not to underestimate them.

“We are here telling the same sad stories that you know you’ve heard. Senator Sinema was here during (SB) 1070. She knows all of our stories. Now she has to do the right thing,” said Garcia.

Garcia accused Phoenix and Arizona of being the city and state to have most benefited from the exploitation of undocumented people.

Matthew Casey has won Edward R. Murrow awards for hard news and sports reporting since he joined KJZZ as a senior field correspondent in 2015.