Rally for immigration reform held at Riverside Park

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Gazette staff
Monday, August 26, 2013

JANESVILLE—Jenny Rodriguez believes that immigration reform gave her a future.

Now, she hopes that comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship will be enacted, giving other people similar opportunities.

On Sunday, about 75 people gathered at Riverside Park in Janesville to rally for immigration reform.  The event was organized by Voces de la Frontera, a Milwaukee-based labor and social justice organization.

For Rodriguez, immigration reform came in the form of “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals,” or DACA, as it is more commonly known.  “Deferred Action” was an executive order that allowed some children of illegal immigrants to pursue employment in the United States. It is not a path to citizenship.

“I couldn't drive, I couldn't get a job, I had no future,” Rodriguez said.

Now she's studying to become a certified nursing assistant at Blackhawk Technical College.

Rodriguez spoke passionately about giving other illegal immigrants a similar chance for the future with comprehensive immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship.

Sunday's event included speeches from local politicians including Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville; Rep. Deb Kolste, D-Janesville and Rep. Andy Jorgensen.

All of them stressed the contributions, both economic and cultural, of immigrants groups.

“Unless there are some Native Americans, we're all immigrants here,” Cullen told the crowd.

Opponents to immigration reform say providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants would amount to awarding them for disobeying the law. In addition, opponents argue that the border should be secured before any reforms are enacted.

Sunday's event was part of a series of rallies being held in cities throughout the state to encourage Congress to take action on immigration reform after returning from its summer recess.

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