More than 100 people demonstrated Monday morning outside the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach to push for inclusion in federal immigration reform legislation of a pathway to American citizenship.
The protesters spent nearly two hours outside the West Coast Highway resort to attempt to influence U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), who was attending a meeting there, said the Rev. Sarah Halverson of the Costa Mesa-based Fairview Community Church.
Goodlatte is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
"You're in our backyard," Halverson said after the demonstration. "You're in Orange County. Here in California, we need [Goodlatte] to pay attention to what's happening and act. Act now."
The immigration bill, which passed the Senate last month, is facing steep resistance among House Republicans because of its proposal to give provisional legal status to millions of immigrants in the country illegally, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"God sees all of us with the same eyes," Halverson said. "We have a responsibility to take care of the people who happen to be within our borders. We don't want to see families torn apart."
A Goodlatte spokeswoman deferred comment to a Judiciary Committee representative, who didn't respond to an email request for comment Monday afternoon.
A joint statement released by Goodlatte and other Republicans last week called the immigration legislation "flawed."
The House committees will "continue their work on a step-by-step, common-sense approach to fixing what has long been a broken system," according to the July 10 statement. "The American people want our border secured, our laws enforced and the problems in our immigration system fixed to strengthen our economy."