Group calls on Charlie Dent to pass immigration reform

Posted: 10:06 PM EDT Aug 20, 2013   Updated: 10:57 PM EDT Aug 20, 2013

A group rallying for immigration reform is taking its message to Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent and other Republicans.

They want action now but no action will be taken until Congressional leaders return to Washington in September.

"I am one of millions of children that had to be separated from their parents because of a broken immigration system," said Tatiana Tooley, a community activist speaking to the group.

This group hopes Senate Bill 744, immigration reform, is the first topic Congress discusses.

"If the GOP supports this, the GOP is making a statement that they truly value family unity," added Tooley.

Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent says he does support immigration reform.

He also knows the issue is a complicated one.

"Immigration reform will be dealt with," said Dent. "It will be dealt with a bit differently than the Senate which chose to take up one massive bill. The House will deal with this in pieces."

Senate Bill 744 has already passed and some wish congressional leaders would look at that piece of legislation first before coming up with a new set of rules.

"If they have another bill it will take more time," said organizer, Fernando Vazquez.

"We've gotten away from a dialogue and we've polarized on not only this issue but a lot of issues," said Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski. "We've polarized on one side or the other. that's not how good government works."

The people say waiting means more children separated from their families, and more people waiting to live the American dream.

"We have to deal with this thing responsibly," said Dent. "I think we can and I think we can get there. But it's going to be a lot of work."

"The new leader could be Charlie Dent and one way to show leadership is passing this bill," added Vazquez. "Because many people will vote for a Republicans, they need to remember that."