During the first week of June, immigrant families and advocates got together in Gilbert, Arizona to stage a protest in front of U.S. Representative Matt Salmon's office. The reason behind the protest was to express dissatisfaction with “lawmakers' inaction regarding immigration reform on the one-year anniversary of a U.S. House vote on a measure that would allow certain [undocumented] immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and graduated from high school the opportunity to earn permanent residency.”
As azcentral.com reports, the group was made up of 20-30 individuals who all gathered around the outside of Salmon's office. While this group was holding its protest in Gilbert, there were protests occurring in 27 other states throughout the country, as well.
All of these protests were being held in the hopes that they would encourage House Republicans in these states to make the right decision on immigration reform.
For many attending the protest, immigration reform legislation means a lot more than just some words on a page. 23-year-old Abril Gallardo lives in Gilbert and said that the Dream Act allowed her to attend community college, “but the lack of resources available to immigrants is an issue.” In Gallardo's case, her brother was diagnosed with kidney failure, but is not eligible to be put on the transplant list because of his DREAMer status.
Gallardo went on to say that friends of hers “can freely take a trip to California, attend school with federal aid. I can not. We just want lawmakers to put something on the table, maybe DACA for all, for our parents, in the mean time.”
Although a representative for Salmon declined to comment on the protest, the representative did refer to a letter that Salmon had written to Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Jeh Johnson. In the letter, Salmon cited “DHS' alleged routine practice of relocating immigrants in communities rather than deporting them, said the Obama administration had encouraged” immigration without documentation.
Another protester, Ricardo Zamudio, said that he hoped that the rally in Gilbert, along with those taking place throughout the country would encourage change and legislation focused on immigration reform. Zamudio found fault with both Democrats and Republicans. He said that the inaction on both sides of the aisle has “caused many families to separate.”
Zamudio works with Neighborhood Ministries, an organization that is committed to breaking “the cycle of poverty in impoverished, inner-city Phoenix by holistically loving, serving, and bringing life-transforming hope and power to families in the community.”
Neighborhood Ministries, along with Living United for Change in Arizona and other community leaders were at the event in front of Salmon's office with signs that read “Give us a vote on citizenship” and “Time is Now.” The whole group was made of up of mostly young people who talked about issues their parents have encountered as undocumented immigrants living in Arizona.
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