New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan joined Sen. Charles Schumer Friday to rally support for a last-ditch effort to get Congress to pass immigration reform this year.
"The votes are there, but there are some Republicans who are afraid to vote for it because of that small number of people we call the tea party," Schumer (D-N.Y.) said at a Battery Park news conference with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop.
He was also joined by labor leaders, the owner of a Brooklyn business, a mother who is undocumented from Staten Island and immigration advocates.
"That torch is flickering because immigration reform hangs in the balance," said Schumer, citing a Senate bill that was passed a year ago both by Democrats and Republicans.
"I'm not a political leader," Dolan said. "But I'm a pastor and every great religion welcomes the immigrant. It is fundamental and moral. . . . I would not be here if my great-grandfather Patrick Dolan was turned away in 1852."
"We have a solid piece of legislation and people are running out of patience. We got to get this going and do it now," the cardinal said.
The Senate bill would open a path to citizenship over 13 years for as many as 11 million immigrants who entered the United States illegally. It also contained provisions to tighten border security and to revamp rules for guest workers and for reuniting families.
Schumer said there is about a month left to push for the bill before members turn their attention to the November elections.
Chad Dickerson, the CEO of Etsy, a Brooklyn-based online marketplace with 600 employees, said the reform bill would help his business stay competitive.
"We want to hire the best talent and we want to keep those who have come here to be educated to stay here," he said.
Jose Calderon, president of the Hispanic Federation, said deportations are "tearing families apart. Let's act now."