A group of about 80 immigrants and pro-immigration activists on Tuesday asked the Republican speaker of the House, John Boehner to show "courage" in approving immigration reform when they delivered to his congressional office some cardboard medallions on which that word was written.

With this symbolic gesture, organized by the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, or FIRM, the group asked Boehner to change the current immigration system, given that it - they said - separates hundreds of families each day.

The activists, who came to the nation's capital from at least 20 states, marched through the halls of Congress wearing around their necks the "courage" medallions and deposited them at Boehner's office, chiding him for being a "coward" for not allowing a House vote on the new immigration bill.

This act of protest was launched at the summit on immigration reform that FIRM is holding on Tuesday and Wednesday at a Washington hotel.

The organizers, who dubbed the meeting the Keeping Families Together Summit, emphasized that it is being held just at the point where a total of two million deportations is close to being reached during the administration of Barack Obama.

At the summit, leaders from different cities will discuss new strategies for the immigration movement, said Ricardo Ramirez in the name of FIRM, which is a national coalition of grassroots organizations fighting for immigrant rights at the local, state and federal levels.

The Senate last June approved a comprehensive bill to reform the country's immigration system that includes strengthening security along the border with Mexico and opens the door to U.S. citizenship for undocumented foreigners residing in the United States.

The lower house, which has a Republican majority, has refused to analyze in its entirety the document already approved by the Senate and prefers to break the immigration issue as a whole down into its component parts.

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