Arkansas Immigrant Petitions for Reform

Arkansas Immigrant Petitions for Reform

One immigrant living in Arkansas is taking the lead on immigration reform by sharing her story about what it's like living without legal papers.

WASHINGTON, D.C- One immigrant living in Arkansas is taking the lead on immigration reform by sharing her story about what it's like living without legal papers. 

 The issue of immigration brought protesters to Capitol Hill and one Arkansas resident to testify before the House Judiciary Committee.

"If you would've told me three years ago that I was going to be speaking at a hearing yesterday, here in D.C. regarding immigration reform,  I would've said you're crazy," Rosa Velazquez said.

Velazquez came to America illegally when she was just five-year-old. Now, she's in a group that advocates for the rights of undocumented immigrants.

United We Dream Founder Julieta Garibay says she started the organization with people like Velazquez in mind.

"When we started United We Dream, we had certain goals, making sure that our parents, as well as our dreamers are included in the pathway to citizenship, " Garibay said.

But that pathway still isn't clear. Last year, Congress passed a bill that gives students like Velazquez a two-year deferment of deportation. She's one of 9,000 who qualify in Arkansas.

Arkansas Congressman Tim griffin says there's no doubt reform is needed, but he has other priorities ahead of citizenship.

" I believe before we get any progress on the other parts of immigration we have got to take steps to secure the border," Griffin said. 

As far dealing with immigrants already here, Griffin thinks the pathway will only encourage people to come the wrong way.

As the House continues to tackle reform, Velaszquez hopes they come up with more than a Band‐aid solution.

"Anything less than citizenship would be still putting us in that danger of being separated from our families and we've had enough," Velaszquez said.

 It's unlikely Congress will reach an agreement by their August recess, leaving the fate of a reported 11-million undocumented immigrants up in the air.

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