Pittsburgh City Council voted Wednesday to issue a resolution that urges Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform package.
Authored by Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, the Will of Council document demands an easier process for foreigners to become U.S. citizens.
"There is no reasonable system for people to become citizens of this country," Rudiak said. "That's why we have 11 million people living in the shadows. If we actually had a reasonable pathway to citizenship, people would be doing that."
Rudiak said she thinks immigration reform would improve illegal workers' wages and have a positive impact on pay for all Americans in turn. She said the need for reform is urgent and that demand has reached a "fever pitch" both locally and nationally.
Rudiak, whose mother immigrated to Pittsburgh from Poland, said a Polish cousin of hers could not find work in the U.S. even after graduating from Carlow University with honors.
"Not because she wasn't talented and not because they didn't want to hire her, because they did, but because the immigration process in this country is so absolutely onerous and literally takes years to get through," Rudiak said. "That's far too much red tape for any employer to be able to hire someone legally through the system."
The council resolution will be forwarded to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate President Pro Tempore Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), as well as the state General Assembly and Governor Corbett.