“I hope that people are able to see that my family just like all American families – we want to be able to stay at home in America, and stay together,” says Hareth Andrade, a 20-year-old leader with Dreamers of Virginia who is speaking out on behalf of her father Mario. “These are the things we need to tell Congress.”
Mario – the married father of three girls ranging from ages eight to 20 – was pulled over in 2012 while driving in Virginia. All charges affiliated with a traffic violation were dropped but due to an agreement between Virginia police and ICE, Mario was transferred to an ICE facility and now faces deportation.
“It’s so hard,” says Andrade, who graduated from Northern Virginia Community College last spring. She wants to eventually attend a four-year college and pursue a career in public policy – but now she’s campaigning for her father to stay in the United States, so he can see his children grow up. “It’s an opportunity to bring to light that this is happening, just just to me but to families across the nation.”
Today Hareth joined a group of community leaders who spoke out in Washington, D.C. against the deportation of her father and of Noe Parra, a Maryland father of two whose five-year-old daughter, Anita, is a U.S. citizen. The group delivered over 10,000 signatures to Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-VA).
The conference comes on the same day that labor, civil rights, community and religious organizations announced a large-scale mobilization in Washington, D.C. to urge Congress to pass immigration legislation.
“This is a crucial time in the continued fight for immigrant rights, and we looking forward to raising our voices alongside the thousands of our community that will come from across the nation,” said members of Los Tigres Del Norte, the six-time Grammy winning group who will be participating in the October 8th Camino Americano: Concert and March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect. The October 8th concert will follow a weekend of actions expected in approximately 90 cities.
“It’s not who we are as Americans to relegate men and women into a second-class group of people”, said labor leader Jaime Contreras, vice-president and capital area director for 32BJ SEIU. “Congressional leaders must reject the handful of extremists who are ignoring the majority of Americans that support common sense immigration reform with a path to citizenship.”