What does it mean to have an inclusive pathway to citizenship for the 11 million? It means keeping Colorado mom, Norma Galindo Gonzalez, together with her friends and family in the only country she calls home.
By all accounts, Norma is like every other American. She’s built a home. She has a job and volunteers at her church. Norma has raised two boys in the mountains of Colorado, including one who’s now studying at Duke University.
But without the passage of an immigration bill with an inclusive path to citizenship for 11 million people, Norma’s future in this country is at risk.
Like thousands of immigrants anxiously awaiting reform, Norma has a final deportation order. She’s been living in Colorado for more than twenty years, but last year, just days after her son, Hector, had won the prestigious Daniels Fund scholarship, ICE came knocking at her door. While her husband and children stood by, ICE agents arrested her and took her to jail, telling her she would be deported in a matter of days. But her family and friends mobilized quickly, and with the help of advocates pressuring public officials, ICE was forced to release Norma and give her a 1-year reprieve.
Norma was set to be deported on May 11, but she recently won a one-year relief. Without reform she is still facing deportation in a year’s time and she lives every day with the fear of what her future will hold.
Her story is like too many others. Years of inaction on immigration reform in Congress have left hundreds of thousands in legal limbo. These are hard-working people with deep ties to the US–many with families, work, and school obligations. But programs like Secure Communities have drastically increased the numbers of immigrants who’ve been caught up in the deportation pipeline. According to research from TRAC, over 172,000 deportation orders were issued in 2012 alone.
But there’s good news on the horizon — the Senate’s immigration bill introduced this week ensures that undocumented Americans, like Norma, with previous deportation orders, are included in the path to citizenship. This is a major victory for Norma and our movement — but we still have a long fight ahead of us before this bill becomes law. And through the legislative process, Senator Jeff Sessions and his “Gang of Hate” will do everything they can to eliminate than Norma’s path.
Protecting the path to citizenship in this bill is vital to Norma’s future.
As the bill is written, Norma’s future in the US can be secured. But immigration advocates like you must protect this path in order to assure that Norma and her family — as well as millions of others — are not uprooted. Click here to add your voices to the many others who have already told legislators to protect a pathway to citizenship for all Americans.