Posted at: 02/26/2013 6:41 PM
By: Brittany Lewis
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- As immigration reform talks continue, local Latino advocates and leaders are preparing for a trip to Washington D.C. to push for change.
40 people from Rochester, Owatonna, Austin, and Red Wing will leave for the nation’s capital next week. The majority of them are youth, pushing for immigration reform and The DREAM Act.
The group Centro Campesino is going to the nation’s capital as part of National Latino Advocacy Days. Latino non-profit and civic organizations across the country will be there to discuss issues like immigration reform. While they are there, the group hopes to talk with senators and representatives from Minnesota.
"That's why I'm doing this, to help them to help families that are being torn apart by this and that's one of the biggest things,” said Jose Otero, a youth leader from Rochester.
"I wanna go to Washington D.C. because I want to talk to the legislators and be able to bring back knowledge so I can help my community,” said Marco Loera, a youth leader from Rochester.
While these youth leaders, from Centro Campesino hope to learn something on their trip to D.C., they also hope to educate.
"I want a fair immigration reform, I want equal rights, for workers, families, to stop deportation, cause that hurts families,” said Loera.
"We would like to see a path to citizenship without obstacles, protection for immigrant workers in guest worker programs, as well as reducing the back logs for visas,” said Jeffrey Jurewicz of Centro Campesino.
Those messages will be passed on when the group meets with Minnesota lawmakers to discuss the issues affecting their community.
"I have family who is affected by it and I know people who are affected by it. It's really heartbreaking to see people getting taken away from their family members,” said Loera.
"I was an immigrant. I'm legal now, but I was an immigrant and ya know it was tough growing up or being raised knowing that you're different than everybody else. Not knowing that at any time, you can be taken back and into poverty,” said Fernando Rodriguez, a youth leader from Owatonna.
The group will also push for The DREAM Act, proposed legislation that would provide pathway to legal status for the thousands of undocumented students who graduate from high school each year.
“Without an education, then we can't go on and get jobs which is what many students who are undocumented are facing,” said Loera.
Problems they hope this trip will help solve.
The group will be in D.C. from March 4th-8th. They will also attend meetings that discuss issues like education, healthcare, and jobs.