A message for Washington is delivered in Lincoln as more than 40 organizations rally outside the Capitol to call for immigration reform.
Darcy Tromanhauser, Immigrants and Communities Programs Director for Nebraska Appleseed, stated that current immigration laws separate families.
“We’ve been living with sadly outdated laws that don’t serve our interest or our values,” Tromanhauser said. “It’s time to update these laws as we would with any other system.”
Tromanhauser asserted that current immigration laws tear families apart.
Carolina Quezada with the Latino Center of the Midlands echoed that sentiment, stating that the system must be reformed to provide illegal immigrants a path to citizenship.
“We support policies and efforts that keep families together,” Quezada said. “We have personally seen how divisive it is and how hurtful it is to communities when families are split.”
Quezada added the center supports humane and just labor standards for immigrants.
Those organizing the rally said they want to build public support for officeholders to back immigration reform in Washington.
Executive Director Jim Cunningham of the Nebraska Catholic Bishops Conference said the time for reform is now.
“The optimism that stems from the hopeful signs coming from our nation’s capital is cautious, of course, but real. The opportunity is real. The momentum is real,” Cunningham stated. “It is the great hope of the Catholic Bishops Conference that Congress and the administration will seize the opportunity.”
Jerry Kuenning, representing Nebraska Cattlemen, said immigrants provide invaluable labor for agriculture, but are stuck in their current illegal status.
“The present system does not allow for those who work in agriculture to come and work and to raise their families here in Nebraska. The system does not allow for an immigrant employee to gain permanent status or long-time employment,” according to Cunningham. “The immigration affects all of us citizens no matter what occupation we might be involved with.”
AUDIO: Rally for immigration reform outside the Capitol. [18 min.]