Faith community holds rally for immigration reform
Hundreds of families attended a special church service Saturday focused on praying for citizenship.
The Indianapolis Congregation Action Network or IndyCAN held the prayer rally, which was led by several local clergy including Archbishop Joseph Tobin. Supporters say immigration reform is an issue of faith that includes creating a specific roadmap to full citizenship rights for 11 million aspiring Americans.
The need for immigration reform affects 11 million people living and working in America who don't have citizenship. It's a problem Archbishop Joseph Tobin says we should all be working to solve.
"I'm the grandson of immigrants and I love my grandparents and I believe if we fail to respond the neediest today, then on the day of judgment, it won't be them who condemn us. It will be our grandparents," said Archbishop Tobin.
It's those simple things like getting a driver's license and going to college on a scholarship that illegal immigrants can't do.
"It's really hard for immigrants. A nine-digit number can make a huge change in a person's life. Honestly, we aren't different from anybody else just because we're born in another country," said Janett Orozco.
Janett Orozco is only 15 but she's already facing the challenges of being an illegal immigrant. She's been awarded several college scholarships that she can't accept.
"When I went to talked to my counselor about that, she asked me what's your Social Security number and that's when immigration hit me. I wanted that scholarship because I knew it would be essential for my education," she said.
"It's hard to drive without papers or get a job. It's really, really hard," said Juan Perez.
For the last 25 years, Juan Perez has been trying to earn citizenship so he can provide a better future for his young family.
"Help us! We are good people. We are not trying to do anything bad. We just want to work," said Perez.
It's a plea echoed a million times over around the state and across the country as the fight for citizenship continues.
Archbishop Tobin, meantime, cautions against the vitriol that is often produced during debates about immigration.
"I think any rhetoric that is based on chauvinism as a disguised hatred or greed should be questioned. As an American and a believer, I believe that," said Tobin.
On the national level, legislation is still in the works for the Campaign for Citizenship.