POLITICS

Bloomberg, Republicans Join Obama Backers In Support Of Immigration Reform

  • From left, News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch, looks on as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a  forum on The Economics and Politics of Immigration in Boston on Tuesday.

    From left, News Corporation CEO Rupert Murdoch, looks on as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks during a forum on The Economics and Politics of Immigration in Boston on Tuesday.  (AP2012)

  • FILE - In this April 18, 2013 file photo members of the bipartisan immigration "Gang of Eight", a group of four Democrats and four Republicans in the Senate, participate in a Capitol Hill news conference in Washington. Together they crafted a bill to address the dominant four immigration questions: tightening border controls, allowing more high- and low-skilled workers to legally immigrate, requiring employers to verify their workers have legal status, and creating an opportunity for those who are in the U.S. illegally to eventually become citizens. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., right, signals "time-out" as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center, begins to tell a joke as, with , from left, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

    FILE - In this April 18, 2013 file photo members of the bipartisan immigration "Gang of Eight", a group of four Democrats and four Republicans in the Senate, participate in a Capitol Hill news conference in Washington. Together they crafted a bill to address the dominant four immigration questions: tightening border controls, allowing more high- and low-skilled workers to legally immigrate, requiring employers to verify their workers have legal status, and creating an opportunity for those who are in the U.S. illegally to eventually become citizens. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., right, signals "time-out" as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., center, begins to tell a joke as, with , from left, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

A grassroots political support group backing President Barack Obama is joining a Republican pro-immigration organization and an effort run by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to push for a comprehensive immigration bill using social media platforms.

Organizing for Action, a grassroots group run by Obama loyalists that grew out of his 2012 re-election campaign, will co-sponsor a "virtual march on Washington" planned for next week aimed at getting people to use social media platforms to register their support for the immigration legislation.

Bloomberg's Partnership for a New American Economy is behind the effort. Republicans for Immigration Reform, a group headed by former Bush administration Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, also is co-chairing the endeavor.

"By bringing together leaders from both parties and Americans across the country, we hope to send Congress a clear message that there is broad support for smart reform — and the time for action is now," Bloomberg said in a statement.

The virtual "March for Innovation," planned for May 22-23, is designed to get people to use Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and other social media platforms to push Congress to pass the immigration bill, which may come to a vote next week in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

It's another sign of engagement by business and high-tech leaders and officials across the political spectrum to support the immigration legislation.

Meanwhile, legal immigration is the focus as the Senate Judiciary Committee resumes the work of amending legislation overhauling the U.S. immigration system.

Amendments expected to be offered Tuesday could reshape a painstakingly negotiated deal between business and labor on a visa program for lower-skilled workers. Attention will be on the four senators on the committee who are among the bill's eight authors to see whether they can stick together to fend off the changes.

There's also a dispute over provisions in the bill dealing with high-skilled workers.

And the committee may make changes to address shortcomings in the student visa program after the Boston Marathon bombings. A foreign student accused of hiding evidence was allowed to return to the U.S. in January without a valid student visa.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

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