People in Charlottesville Rally for Immigration Reform - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

People in Charlottesville Rally for Immigration Reform

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Nearly 100 people in Charlottesville joined the voices all across the country rallying for what they call a "common sense" immigration reform bill.

People of all races and ages came out to the Albemarle County Office Building Monday, calling for justice for immigrants and serving as a voice for those who aren't able to speak.

"There is Anglo community and Spanish. We are together so we want to be just one community so it's time they give it to us, the opportunity to feel free," said demonstrator Fanny Smedile.

They say they want better opportunities for those coming to the United States, in the form of a bill that provides a short and direct path to citizenship and one that protects the rights of migrant workers.

Organizers hope that rally and others across the country will allow their voices to be heard.

"I hope that they can open a lot of doors for all those people that don't have the legal status here. So I'm hoping that they're able to pass the law so they're not breaking their families anymore," said Veronica Vargas.

Senators are expected to finish working on the bill this week. It is expected to include measures to secure the border and eventually grant citizenship to the estimated 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

Virginia Organizing



Charlottesville, Va. –Virginia Organizing, Casa Alma Catholic Worker, Church of the Incarnation and Sin Barreras Community Center organized a rally on April 8 in front of the Albemarle County Office Building to support comprehensive immigration reform with a clear and fair path to citizenship. About 125 people participated in the rally.

"The people of Charlottesville have spoken loudly and enthusiatically--Congress needs to act," said Sandra A. Cook, Chairperson of Virginia Organizing. "We need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship that is fair for the millions of immigrants living and working among us today."

Kristen Schenk, Coordinator of Justice and Charity at the Church of the Incarnation, believes we cannot delay on immigration reform. "Our immigration system continues to create hardship, pain, and injustice in the lives of millions of individuals," Schenk said. "We must collectively raise our voices and join the chorus that the United States--a nation built largely by immigrants--can and should do better."
Patricia Vasquez, a student at Monticello High School, also believes this is one of the most important issues facing our nation right now. Vasquez said, "This is important because so many undocumented immigrants are looking for a new beginning and everyone is a human being and should be treated that way."
The large rally included chants in English and Spanish and supporters of immigration reform lined all the street corners of major intersections in the area. People driving by honked their horns in support of the crowd, giving even more energy to those gathered.
Immigration reform has taken the spotlight in national debates and local residents want to make sure the voices of the people directly affected by these policies are raised.
"The time is right," said Vasquez. "Immigrant students should be able to go to college and get an education to better ourselves."
Schenk agreed, "We are dealing with the lives of real people--people with potential, with relationships, with skills, with determination--and must continue to advocate so that their voices may be heard. It will never be an easy reform--so why not now?"
To interview a participant of the rally, or a spokesperson for the organizations, please contact Amanda Pohl at 803-337-1912 or amanda@virginia-organizing.org.
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