Schumer predicts mass demonstrations if House blocks path to citizenship

A senior Democratic senator predicted Sunday there could be massive demonstrations in Washington if House Republicans try to block a bill to grant legal status to millions of immigrants.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the lead Democratic sponsor of the Senate immigration reform bill, said House Republicans would likely spark massive civil rights rallies if they try to quash measures to create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.

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“This has the potential of becoming the next major civil rights movement. I could envision in the late summer or early fall if Boehner tries to bottle the bill up or put something in without a path to citizenship — if there’s no path to citizenship, there’s not a bill — but if he tries to bottle it up or do things like that, I could see a million people on the Mall in Washington,” Schumer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Schumer said business leaders, evangelical leaders and CEOs of high tech companies would join the public call for action by the House on immigration.

Schumer has counted about 67 votes for the Senate immigration bill and believes close to 70 will support final passage later this week.


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“I do believe that having a significant number of Republicans will change the dynamic in the House. Individual Congress members from red districts, if they see their senators voted for it and they decide to do the right thing, there will be huge pressure on [Speaker John] Boehner [R-Ohio] not to block immigration reform,” said Schumer.

Schumer predicted that Boehner will have to bring legislation very similar to the Senate bill to the House floor, even if a majority of his conference would not support it.

“He will have no choice as the pressure mounts over the summer,” Schumer added.

He said Boehner would have to abandon the so-called Hastert Rule and bring legislation granting legal status to millions of illegal immigrants even if less than half of the House GOP conference is willing to vote for it.