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Immigrants, Advocates Rally For New York State Citizenship

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- They are not U.S. citizens, but a plan is in the works to allow undocumented New Yorkers to become citizens of the state.

Chanting "New York is my home" and with the Statue of Liberty in the background, immigrants and their advocates rallied for New York state citizenship in Battery Park on Monday, WCBS 880's Peter Haskell reported.

The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, D-Bronx, said the legislation would grant state citizenship if "someone can demonstrate proof of identity, live here for three consecutive years, pay taxes for three consecutive years."

Immigrants, Advocates Rally For New York State Citizenship

Assemblyman Karim Camara, D-Brooklyn, said state citizenship would allow 2.7 million immigrants to legally drive, vote in state and local elections and receive tuition aid.

"We have the opportunity now to step in where the federal government has not and make New York stronger by strengthening the rights of new immigrants," Camara said.

The bill is not likely to pass, but is being called a conversation starter, Haskell reported.

"We deserve to receive the aid necessary for us to go to college," said Antonio Alarcon, 19. "We deserve to vote. We deserve to drive."

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