|Hispanic, black, Asian and other House lawmakers backing immigration overhaul called Tuesday for legalizing illegal immigrants in the U.S., despite a weakened economy and joblessness.
The coalition of lawmakers said Tuesday immigration reform can protect American workers as well as bring into the mainstream economy productive immigrant workers who have lived in the shadows because of their illegal status.
"For those who say that given the state of our economy, given the unemployment rate, this is not the time, I would say to you there is no wrong or right time. There is a moral obligation," said Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who has become a leader of a multiethnic coalition of immigration reform backers, said immigration reform opponents "will use it as a wedge issue and will blame everything from unemployment to rising health care costs on immigrants."