WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — Hundreds of people staged a rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday demanding immigration reform from the Biden administration and Congress to ensure a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
The rally comes days after President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass sweeping immigration reform. Many people at the rally say it’s past due.
Immigrants from across the country took to the streets of D.C., demanding President Biden and Congress reform the immigration system.
“We need you to act now, no more deportations no more family separations, you need to pass a pathway to citizenship for all,” said Esther Jeon, a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipient.
Jeon, who traveled to D.C. from Houston, Texas, is one of more than 3 million DACA recipients, nicknamed “Dreamers.”
“I found out I was undocumented when I was in middle school and it changed my life,” Jeon said.
She says Biden’s first 100 days in office haven’t brought enough change.
“Everyday families are getting separated, and I’m still undocumented,” Jeon said.
Missael Garcia, who is 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 say immigrants have played an essential role on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. They say 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,” Thaís Carrero, the program director of CASA, a civic and social organization.
Democrats and Republicans remain split over immigration policy. But Illinois Democratic Senator 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; Democrats in the senate will need at least 10 Republicans to come on board to do the same.