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Local groups fight for immigration reform in Las Cruces

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Aug 22 2013 10:51:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 16 2014 12:19:41 PM CST

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -

The debate on immigration is heating up in Las Cruces.

About 75 people marched through the streets to demand change.

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.) took questions in a town hall meeting on Thursday evening.

More than 100 people packed the room to question Pearce.

The congressman has made it clear he does not support a bill to give illegal immigrants in the country a pathway to citizenship.

Cafe, a local faith and culture group, is hoping to win him over.

"He represents the fourth-most Hispanic district in the country. 5.6 percent of our workforce is undocumented. I think that's really holding back New Mexico and holding back our families," said Sarah Nolan, the executive director of Cafe.

After nearly two hours of questions, Pearce would not back down on his stance.

"I'm willing to fix the problem. I'm not willing to say you can come here illegally and become a citizen. No one here could give me an answer to if we say yes to this 11 million how do we say no to the next 11?" Pearce told ABC-7.

Cafe and other groups want a bill on immigration reform heard on the House floor before the end of the year.

Pearce said he is willing to find a compromise on immigration.

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