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Inland Empire Faith-Based Non-Profit Calls for Immigration Reform

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The Inland Congregations United for Change
Members of ICUC holding signs demanding immigration reform.

Dozens of community and faith leaders gathered in San Bernardino and the Coachella Valley early last week to urge elected officials to include a comprehensive immigration bill as part of congresses budget reconciliation process.

The event was hosted by Inland Congregations United for Change and other local organizations outside the offices of Representatives Raul Ruiz and Pete Aguilar. They focused on expressing the need to create a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants around the country.

Anthony Victoria is the Communications Coordinator for the ICUC, he told me, "Our community has been waiting decades in some cases, for a pathway to citizenship and immigration reform, and it's important that they have that."

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Man holding sign saying, "No Deportations, Yes Immigration Reform."

He added that there are community members that have worked every day during the pandemic in the fields and other essential jobs to help keep our economy and country going. He said, “It’s only right that congress delivers on their promises for immigration reform because I think it’s been long enough and I think it’s time that they get behind this and that they push this for the greater good of our immigrant community.”

Late Sunday evening, U.S. Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth Macdonough rejected the democrat proposal saying that it was "by any standard a broad, new immigration policy" and that the policy change "substantially outweighs the budgetary impact of that change."

If it had been included, the reform would have allowed congress to create a pathway for citizenship for undocumented youth, migrant essential workers, and DACA recipients who had consistent proof of income and had been present in the country since at least the beginning of 2020.

Rubyd Olvera is a DACA recipient and a Community Engagement Coordinator with the Coachella Valley non-profit, Lift to Rise. She spoke of her thoughts on undocumented individual's role in our society saying, "We are the backbone of this economy and in many cases essential workers with not many safety nets, which forces folks to have to work every day, no matter the situation, pandemic or no pandemic."

Now that proposal has been rejected, even for recipients of the DACA program, there is still no long-term guarantee that they can legally remain in the country.