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Hundreds Of Philadelphians Heading To DC For Citizenship Rally

By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Hundreds of immigrants from the Philadelphia area are loading buses this morning as they head for Washington DC for a national rally for citizenship.

Immigrant families from the Latino, Asian, and African communities from all across the country are meeting in the nation's Capitol.

"We are coordinating 11 buses to bring 600 immigrants and allies to DC," says Natasha Kelemen, executive director of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition. They are working with several area groups -- such as the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia -- to mobilize to take part in the "Time is Now" national rally for citizenship.

She says they will lobby Pennsylvania lawmakers in Washington by telling their stories, urging them to act now on immigration reform.

"We think there's time for discussion, we think there's clear consensus on what we need to do," says Kelemen.

Erika Almiron of Juntos says a path to citizenship for undocumented, labor protections and a system that unifies families is what is needed to move forward. She says after the lobby tens of thousands will march in Washington beginning at 3pm today.

"We march for our families, we march for dignity and for justice and to say we're alive and we deserve better," she says.

Activists against illegal immigration say they aren't worried that lawmakers will be swayed by the emotional message.

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