Immigration activists rallied in support of legislation that could see some long overdue changes to U.S. immigration policy.
Philip Salata has more on the story from downtown Los Angeles.
Grouped tightly behind a podium, activists faced a row of cameras and microphones Wednesday morning, calling out for a pathway to permanent residency for undocumented immigrants.
The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, or CHIRLA, championed new legislation authored by California Sen. Alex Padilla that could bring about long awaited changes.
The bill would revise a 1929 federal immigration law that hasn’t been updated since the Reagan administration in the 80′s. The changes would make it possible for an immigrant to qualify for permanent residency after having lived in the U.S. for seven years.
We’ve waited too long to live in this country with security, with a peace of mind, with a sense that we will not be torn apart from our families.
That was Angelica Salas, executive director of CHIRLA. She spoke in front of the Roybal Federal building in downtown Los Angeles, flanked by a spirited and hopeful group of activists.
It’s been too long. It ‘s been decades and decades. It’s been too long since we’ve been fighting year after year after year, decade after decade, for a change in our immigration policy. So that they’re more just that they’re more humane, that they really represent the values of our people, what we deserve.
The individual would have to have prove they’re of “good moral character” -- a term that amounts to not having a criminal history during that time.
It unlocks permanent residency. No more temporary status. It opens up the doors towards a green card and the possibility of citizenship. But more than that, it gives people a peace of mind of living in this country with their families, that they won’t be separated, that they can go to their home countries and hug the loved ones that they haven’t seen for decades, that they won’t be abused in the workplace because of their immigration status.
The law would also apply to DACA holders, a program that protects undocumented youth. DACA has been in jeopardy since the Trump administration. Zuleyma Barajas, a member of CHIRLA, knows that experience first hand.
Speaking more just bluntly, right after Trump, the climate change, the law, not only politically but in our daily lives, like we see the hate we live in. And and it’s just has opened up the doors for people to make it okay to be hateful and hurtful and violent towards our communities.
If the legislation goes forward, DACA holders would finally see a permanent solution to their temporary status, and more importantly -- a clear path toward citizenship.
But with the political climate polarized, and the Republican party pitted against legislation that actually has had some history of bipartisan support -- the bill may be at a deadlock.
They are always telling us it’s not the right political moment. It’s not the time or, you know, efforts are made. And they come they fall short from from actually becoming law. So we’re not taking no for an answer.
For those who were out today to garner support, waiting idly was not a part of the plan.
But before the bill even comes up for a vote, it still has numerous hurdles to face in the senate.