On Wednesday, nearly 500 DREAMers and parents participated in an “aspirational citizenship ceremony” at a park near the nation’s Capitol, urging legislators to reform the immigration system and provide citizenship for the undocumented. The ceremony took place close to where House Republican leaders would be meeting to discuss immigration reform.
“My family is just like your family. My dreams are similar to yours. So, together let’s open the path of citizenship for the 11 million undocumented,” said DREAMer and United We Dream event organizer Greisa Martinez.
Taking place on Capitol Hill, hundreds gathered to express their pro-immigration views at the ceremony, while brave impacted family members took a stand to share their stories. Many of the speakers were DREAMers explained the hardships they have gone through when having a parent deported.
Martinez’s father was deported to Mexico six years ago. Not being able to physically see him, they stay connected via Facebook and Skype. Like many DREAMers, she is fighting to change this.
“It’s my responsibility to come and represent my family, my dad. As a part of United We Dream, the common thread is for us to stand for our parents,” said Martinez. “I want to be able to hug my father, spend a birthday with him, and have him see me graduate from college.”
As debates continue on the fate of an immigration reform bill, many similar stories to Martinez’ were told at the ceremony.
“We want to see and have a change in congress to bring families together. We want our parents to be able to drive down the street without fear of being separated,” said Martinez. “We love this country and are ready for citizenship.”