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Austin Group Makes Whirlwind Immigration Trip

Posted at: 03/14/2013 6:53 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- Regardless of how you spent your Wednesday, you probably didn’t spend it like this.

"Yesterday was a day I will never forget," Miguel Garate told us.

“A 12 hour day that was absolutely incredible," Bonnie Rietz added.

“We spent the day in Washington,” Father Dale Tupper said. “Flew out there and flew back the same day."

And they went with a message for Congress.

"To see if they could put on the table the new immigration reform and not to wait another four years," trip participant Miguel Garate said.

“And how important it is for the house and senate to tale the next step in immigration because we like what's happening here in Austin," added Father Dale Tupper of Queen of Angels Catholic Church.

Like many American communities, Austin is seeing a growing population of undocumented citizens.

"In Minnesota we have 85,000 undocumented people," Miguel Garate said.

"11 million people when your talk about the United States," former Austin mayor and trip participant Bonnie Rietz added.

11 million people who are living in fear.

"Wondering if at work somebody's going to come tap you on the shoulder, take a look at your documentation and out you go, leaving your family behind" Bonnie Rietz said.

“We talked about bringing them out of the shadows if they're undocumented, opening doors, giving them some hope," said Father Dale Tupper.

“For them to buy houses, insurance, get the kids to college," added Miguel Garate, who was a member of the five-person Austin delegation.

“We just wanted to talk about the immigration bill and the Austin community, and how this is a community that's working together," Father Dale Tupper said.

"This pathway may be rather long, but it needs to be opened."

The group met with members of Minnesota's congressional delegation, and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who's a member of an 8-person committee that's drafting immigration reform legislation.

"they all agree, they say Miguel, the immigration reform is going to be on the table," Miguel Garate told us.

The trip was set-up by Hormel foods. The five-member Austin contingent also included Hormel President and CEO Jeffrey Ettinger, and Welcome Center director Jake Vela.