October 6, 2013


Hobbs—Over 700 immigrant families and supporters from across New Mexico rallied for fair immigration reform on Sunday as part of the National Day of Action for Dignity and Respect. The participants joined the "On the Road to Citizenship" caravan, boarding buses, vans and cars as part of a dramatic statewide action. After parading down Main Street, the riders disembarked in front of the Lea County Republican Party Headquarters where they gathered to send Congressman Steve Pearce a clear message: Our dignity is non-negotiable. We need immigration reform with a path to citizenship now.


Hobbs City Commissioner Joe Calderon welcomed the Caravan riders to the city "I am speechless. I am so happy to see you all here. When I saw so many cars coming I was overcome with emotion."


Somos Un Pueblo Unido organized the statewide caravan, which included community representatives from twelve different cities: Farmington, Gallup, Los Alamos, Española, Santa Fe, Clovis, Portales, Roswell, Dexter, Lovington, Veguita and Hobbs. The caravan was the culmination of a series of immigration-related meetings and protest actions that occurred in Congressman Pearce's district over the summer, which brought together a coalition of Hispanic citizens and immigrant business owners, workers and families to pressure Pearce on his refusal to support a path to citizenship for the people who have revitalized the economy and kept industry running in his district.


Fabiola Romano, a member of Somos Lea County, an affiliate of Somos Un Pueblo Unido, said, "I have been living in Hobbs my whole life. We are part of this community and we need immigration reform to continue supporting this city. We have supported Congressman Pearce and the businesses in his district, now it is his turn to reciprocate."


The government shutdown did not detour the caravan riders from coming to Hobbs to make their voices heard. Just before the block in Congress, a series of immigration reform bills were making their way to the House floor. Immigrant families and their allies will not back down from this issue. They came to Hobbs to remind Pearce that his position on immigration reform is not only undignified, he is not representing the interests of his district or of New Mexico's economic future.


Luz Elena Granados spoke to this concern. "My family drove almost 1000 miles from Farmington to join other families who are working to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Half of my family members are citizens and half are waiting for Congress to take action. We are like any other New Mexican family looking for better opportunities. This is our home, but we can't continue living in fear that we will be separated. The time for reform is now."


Estela Palacio, who has lived in Gallup for over 17 years, came to Hobbs to tell Pearce that the struggle for immigration reform is personal. "I have taught my US citizen children to love and respect this country and to be productive. We are here to ask Congressman Pearce to pass fair immigration reform. We are not just going to take the crumbs. He wants to give us a worker's permit, to continue with worker exploitation so that when they don't need us they can kick us out. We deserve better."




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