Lawmakers take immigration 'pilgrimage'

A bipartisan group of lawmakers is participating in an immigration "pilgrimage" this weekend, visiting a series of historically important sites just as Congress is pursuing comprehensive immigration reform.


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The event concludes Saturday at the Jewish Center of Jackson Heights in Queens, New York. Earlier, lawmakers visited Ellis Island, as well as a naturalization ceremony in New York City.

“This trip will provide us with the opportunity to put politics aside and focus on the common link that we all share,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) said in a statement.

The "Becoming America Pilgrimage" was sponsored by the Faith & Politics Institute. Lawmakers in attendance include House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii).

Congress is in the midst of negotiating a comprehensive immigration reform bill. The Senate has reached bipartisan agreement on a proposal that includes tighter border security as well as a pathway to citizenship for people who are already in the country illegally.

But a comprehensive approach faces an uphill climb in the House, where conservatives have balked at the pathway to citizenship.