Immigration march and rally held in San Diego - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Immigration march and rally held in San Diego

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Photos courtesy News 8 photographer Bill Tracey Photos courtesy News 8 photographer Bill Tracey
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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Immigration rights advocates marched the streets of San Diego Saturday for "National Day of Action for Dignity & Respect."

Hundreds of supporters met in Balboa Park to take part in a protest that aims to delay immigration legislation in hopes to grant illegal immigrants citizenship. 

With the federal government on furlough, they're hoping Governor Brown can lead the way. 

"At 10 a.m. this morning Governor Brown made the very bold statement that if the federal government isn't going to act on immigration reform, he is. And California is going to lead the way," State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez said. "He signed eight bills altogether and basically said we're frustrated and we can do things for California immigrants."

Saturday's protest was one of 19 scheduled rallies in California and one of at least 130 across the United States.

Earlier this week, House Democrats unveiled immigration legislation that is similar to a bill passed by the Senate in June, but does not fund construction of 700 miles of fencing at the Mexican border. Instead, it offers goals for border security.

Both bills grant legal status to undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Pedro Rios, acting chairman of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, said the House bill was unveiled soon after a visit to Washington, D.C., by San Diego law enforcement, faith and business leaders.

"It appears that members of Congress are beginning to pay attention," Rios said.

He described the border enforcement provisions of the Senate bill as "excessive measures that will unnecessarily punish border communities."

It is "a strong signal" that House Democrats dropped the security elements of the measure, Rios said.

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