Although Washington D.C. has been filled with news about guns and fiscal cliffs, comprehensive immigration reform is something that we're told could happen this year — because both President Obama and Congressional Republicans want it to.
But that's easier said than done. Friday morning in Ybor City's Centennial Park, Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor, surrounded by a number of immigration activists, called on citizens to make their voices heard.
"A path to citizenship not only benefits immigrant families, many who live in the shadows ... but if we're able to pass immigration reform, it will benefit all Americans, and improve the economic well being of all our neighbors," Castor said kicking off the news conference.
Also speaking was 23-year-old Nanci Palacios, a recent Hillsborough Community College graduate hoping to enter USF as a bio-chemistry student and ultimately move on to medical school. Palacios and her siblings applied for and received deferred action status late last year. Last June, President Obama — by executive order — instituted deferred action, which halts deportations for immigrants under age 31 who entered the country illegally before age 16.
"I have a work permit, a work social, a drivers license for a year, but that's not enough," Palacios said. "I'm happy to have obtained that, but I still live with that fear that one day I might come home and my parents might not be there. Or that I might get that call at work, 'You know what, your parents have been detained.' I don't want to live in that fear."