While debates about immigration reform continue on Capitol Hill, right here in South Bend some are hoping to influence Congress and the president to take immediate action.
It’s part of the "Dream for All" campaign. It’s a national initiative to get those in Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
Folks at Wednesday’s rally in South Bend say this is about people who work hard each and every day that want a way to truly enter American society without fear. People in the crowd held signs asking for a change. Immigrants of all ages want their voice to be heard loud and clear.
Like Jose Alvarez, who has lived in Elkhart since age four. “I grew up here, I went to preschool here all the way through now,” he says.
Alvarez stood at the podium and says he may be undocumented but feels like an American. “I've learned that my status doesn’t make me different. I am a human being. Just because I’m missing a 9 digit number doesn’t make me different,” he told the crowd.
There were strong messages about the need for a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.
Still, there are obstacles with those against such immigration reform that don't want to see those that break the law rewarded for their actions.
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says, “This is not about jumping the line. The proposals are not calling for the folks to be able to skip the line. They are at the back of the line but we've gotta move the line along fast. There’s gotta be a path to citizenship. Kicking everybody out is not practical.”
It’s estimated at least 50 people were at rally in South Bend. There were similar events going on around the country also.