WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Hundreds of immigrants and advocates from across the country rallied outside the White House Saturday.
They’re calling on the Biden administration and Congress to take more aggressive steps to ensure a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
The Rally comes just days after President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass sweeping immigration reform. People at the rally said it’s way past due.
Esther Jeon, who travelled to the rally from Houston, is one of more than 3 million Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.
“We need you to act now, no more deportations, no more family separations, you need to pass a pathway to citizenship for all,” Jeon said. “I found out when I was in middle school that I was undocumented and that really changed my life”
She says Biden’s first 100 days haven’t brough enough change.
“Everyday families are getting separated, and I’m still undocumented,” Jeon said.
Missael Garcia, also a Dreamer, says with Biden now calling on Congress to uphold the DACA program, he hopes larger reforms follow.
“It’s been a rollercoaster,” Garcia said. “We just got to keep putting the pressure.”
People at the rally said immigrants have played an essential role on the front lines of the pandemic. They said fixing the immigration system is the right way to say thank you.
“There’s definitely the opportunity to get it done we just need the courage we need action,” said Thais Carrero, a member of CASA who was at the rally.
Democrats and Republicans remain split over immigration policy, but Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin says negotiations are progressing.
“There is room for agreement but all seem to agree that we need to start with current challenges at the southern border, we are being overwhelmed,” Durbin said.
Durbin says any final bipartisan immigration bill will include a path to citizenship for some immigrants, including Dreamers.
“We have a chance for the first time in 20 years to come up with meaningful immigration change and reform,” Durbin said.
House Democrats already passed a plan creating a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. Democrats in the Senate will need at least ten Republicans to come on board to do the same.