Protesters gather at Christmas tree lighting

Greg Nash

Nearly 50 children and their families will stage a silent protest for immigration reform during the lighting of the Capitol Christmas tree on Tuesday evening.

The group sponsoring the protest on the Capitol's West lawn blasted Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for not bringing immigration legislation to the House floor.

“The children will protest silently since Boehner has essentially been a silent lawmaker in the immigration process, refusing to bring a comprehensive immigration reform bill to the House floor this year although many media reports show that there are enough votes in the House to pass such a bill,” the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) said in a statement.

The Keeping Families Together: Youth in Action Campaign is also sponsoring the protest.

This marks the second time in a month FIRM has brought children to Washington to press House GOP leadership on the issue of immigration.

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The group dispatched two young women to Boehner’s favorite Capitol Hill diner last month to confront him on the issue.

The children protesting at the tree lighting ceremony plan to visit congressional offices on
Wednesday and Thursday.

President Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill have been pressing House GOP leaders to hold a vote on immigration reform measures this year. They have drawn attention to advocates who have been fasting for reform on the National Mall since Nov. 12. 

With few legislative days remaining in the congressional session, immigration legislation will be pushed back to at least next year.

The Speaker recently said the effort to overhaul the immigration system is “absolutely not” dead. He has said he’d rather address the system’s issues in piece-meal bills rather than a single comprehensive piece of legislation.

On Tuesday, Boehner announced he was bringing on Rebecca Tallent, a veteran expert of immigration policy, to lead the House's legislative efforts.

Advocates for immigration reform cheered the hiring, and said it is a sign that Boehner is serious about pursuing legislation in 2014.