After the fight over healthcare reform, lawmakers are set to consider another controversial issue – immigration reform, and thanks to rallies in El Paso and across the nation, it’s an issue that’s making its way into the national spotlight.
State Representative Marisa Marquez joined thousands of others who rallied at UTEP, trying to get the attention of President Obama in fixing a daunting immigration problem.
“It was great to see the diversity in that group…to see the different age groups, the different ethnic groups…come together for one common good which is immigration reform,” said Marquez.
People at the rally shouted, “Obama…escuche (listen)!” demanding the president listen to their concerns. “We cannot wait any longer,” said Fernando Garcia, adding the time to act is now. “The longer that we wait the more damage that we do our families and to our nation,” he said.
“We cannot NOT have our undocumented workers, which are the backbone of this economy, particularly here in Texas,” said Marquez.
Children of undocumented immigrants are often a forgotten casualty of the immigration battle.
“This is something I hold dear to my heart because I’m actually an immigrant from Juarez,” said student Brenda Lepenski, adding, “You spend your whole entire life in a country you call home, and you have no other opportunities because I guess you were born on the wrong side of the line.”
That’s why Lepenski wants to expand the Dream Act – legislation that grants citizenship to certain undocumented students in exchange for military service or higher education.
“That is something that only 10 states in our nation have,” said another student, Humberto Cruz.
It’s an education dream for these students and an American dream for these supporters. The last time lawmakers attempted to overhaul the immigration was in 2007, with the bid failing.