Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Thousands rally on Capitol Hill, urge Congress to pass immigration reform

Thousands rally on Capitol Hill, urge Congress to pass immigration reform, They all had varied stories of how they came to live in the United States. On this day, however, they came to Capitol Hill with one common goal. The west lawn of the U.S. Capitol filled with thousands of immigrants, their families and supporters, Wednesday hoping to push Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

America, a country founded by immigrants who fought for their rights, now finds itself struggling with immigration. The topic of immigration is one that lawmakers and politicians have historically handled delicately, hoping not to affront an ever-increasing voter base or divide families.

Families like that of 18-year-old Karla Rojas are why many say America needs immigration reform. Karla is a vibrant, enthusiastic young adult who has fought for education reform and now immigration reform.

Born in Mexico, now living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Karla is undocumented. Although she was educated in America, she struggled to find a path to citizenship, as do her parents, who were also born in Mexico.

“We’re fighting for whole immigration reform for youth and our parents, because it’s not fair that they’re only including a certain amount and not everybody’s going to qualify,” said Karla. “Even if we don’t win this immigration reform we’re going to keep on fighting to get treated equally, regardless of our skin color, because we come from all different races, not just Hispanics.”

Hispanics are the current face of immigration, but indeed, immigrants who want comprehensive reform come from many different areas and continents of the world, including the Caribbean and Africa. In March, The Black Institute held a rally to push for immigration reform for blacks.

Ben Jealous, president of the NAACP, spoke at today’s rally, urging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform not just for Hispanics but also for all immigrants.

“Ultimately, in the interest of all of our children,” said Jealous, “we are gathered here today to say let us ensure that every child who grows up here, who graduates college here, is able to stay here, work here and raise their family here and be citizens of this country. Because in this country there will be no second-class families.”

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said he was confident that Congress would make comprehensive immigration reform a reality this year. “Este año,” he told the cheering crowd.

Also optimistic was Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY). “Yes, there is enough momentum,” Rangel said. “I think that we’ll do it this year.”

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