Immigration reform advocates have been active outside the Capitol this week. They're holding signs reading "GOP RIP, " a not so subtle threat to hurt Republicans at the polls if the party blocks immigration this year. While the signs are threatening, the message doesn't seem to be swaying House Republicans.
Virginia Rep. Randy Forbes says these advocates are too narrowly focused on securing citizenship for the 11 million undocumented workers in the U.S.
"You're talking about people who have decided that there is one component of this that they just want," says Forbes. "They don't care about the rest of the bill. Well, that's not going to happen in the House. We're not going to let one interest group or one advocacy group control this whole process."
Instead of a comprehensive measure, House leaders want to address immigration one topic at a time. First up: border security.
Northern Virginia Democrat Gerry Connolly says Republican leaders know their approach threatens to derail any reform effort.
"The piecemeal approach is another way of saying a long slow death march," he says.
Even in the face of Republican resistance, immigration advocates in the region, including Casa de Maryland and local SEIU branches, remain determined to make their voices heard on Capitol Hill. Next Wednesday, hundreds are planning to leave their signs behind and lobby Republican lawmakers and staffers directly.