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Group seeking citizenship for immigration to be in Lodi Tuesday

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Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013 4:01 pm

More than 200 people seeking an easier path for immigrants to gain citizenship will stop in Lodi for a community action meeting tonight. The public is invited.

A group called People Involved in Community Organizing, also known as PICO, plans to walk 285 miles through the San Joaquin Valley. They left Sacramento on Monday and plan to arrive in Bakersfield on Sept. 2. The group has planned activities in towns throughout the Valley.

According to a PICO news release, 11 walkers the group refers to as “pilgrims” are involved in the walk to represent 11 million people who want to become American citizens. They are urging Congress to pass an immigration reform package that includes “a timely and affordable pathway to citizenship.”

PICO spokeswoman Trineka Greer said the goal is for immigrants to fulfill all the legal requirements to become an American citizen and not be given citizenship papers without earning them.

Of the 11 million people seeking citizenship, two-thirds of them have been in the United States for more than a decade, Greer said in a news release.

“These people are essential to our economy and are neighbors with whom we live, go to school and worship,” she added.

The group will stop for a community action meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Iglesia Biblica El Calvario, 441 E. Hilborn St., Lodi. It is not clear if any Lodi-area residents or clergy will participate. Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, will reportedly attend the meeting.

On Thursday, the group will make two stops in Stockton — at noon near Stockton City Hall, 425 N. El Dorado St., and at 6:30 p.m. at Kennedy Community Center, 2800 S. D St. Stockton Catholic Diocese Bishop Stephen Blaire will give the closing blessing at Kennedy Community Center.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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