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Immigration-Reform Vigil at Sen. Hickenlooper's Office

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Friday, August 13, 2021   

DENVER -- Faith organizations joined a prayer vigil led by a coalition of immigrants' rights supporters on Thursday, outside the office of Sen. John Hickenlooper, D-Colo., in downtown Denver.

Laura Peniche, hotline manager for the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, said she has been waiting for comprehensive immigration reform for over 20 years. She wants Hickenlooper to make sure a path to citizenship remains intact inside a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill making its way through Congress.

"I think it's a great opportunity for our leaders to come together and provide relief for the millions of families in this country who are waiting to come out of the shadows and contribute fully to our country," Peniche contended.

This week the U.S. Senate, along strict party lines, approved a budget resolution to increase funding for health care, child and elder care, education, and mitigating climate change.

It also includes funding to create a pathway to citizenship for millions of young immigrants, people with Temporary Protected Status, farm and other essential workers. Republicans unanimously opposed the move, calling it a reckless tax and spending spree that could damage the economy.

An estimated five million undocumented immigrants are considered to be essential workers, including over 400,000 doctors, nurses and home-health aides.

Peniche argued giving immigrants, who put themselves and their families at great risk during the pandemic, a meaningful way to become U.S. citizens will ensure they can get health benefits and other protections they urgently need.

"A majority of American people want to see a humane immigration system that works for everyone," Peniche asserted. "We are just like you, human beings who are children of God, who deserve dignity and respect."

The vigil in Denver capped a national week of action meant to draw attention to the need for immigration reform.

Representatives from the offices of Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., were in attendance, along with Rep. Jason Crow, D-Aurora, and Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Boulder.


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