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PHOENIX -- A broad coalition of Valley leaders is leaning on Arizona's Congressional delegation to push for federal comprehensive immigration reform.

The effort, called the SANE Solution to Federal Immigration, is being supported by chambers of commerce, economic leaders, insurance companies and other groups. County Attorney Bill Montgomery said Arizona has had to deal with illegal immigration for a long time, so much so that the state passed the tough immigration law SB 1070.

"We're never going to be able to address those issues if we don't take on the broader issue of immigration at the federal level," he said.

One of the goals of the coalition is to secure the border, along with accounting for everyone who's in the country illegally.

Valley attorney Danny Ortega says the effort is more than just a talk and hopefully will be a push for Congress to aid the estimated 11 million people who are living here illegally to come out of the shadows and contribute to the nation's economy.

"We simply want to give a platform, some basic goals that can be achieved in a federal solution," he said.

Denise Resnik, co-founder of the Real Arizona Coalition, said Arizona has much to offer in advancing federal immigration reform through the problems experienced by the states, lessons learned from those problems and the compromises that have resulted as solutions.

"We cannot put the controversy over immigration concerns in our state behind us unless we're part of the national solution," she said. "In doing so, we hope to begin restoring the diverse and welcoming Arizona we know and love."

Jim Cross, Reporter

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