Local churches rally for pathway to citizenship

March 11, 2013 | WTHR 13 | link to article

Caught in legal limbo for years with no clear path to United States citizenship, it's a nightmare 11 million illegal immigrants are living, thousands of them Hoosiers.  But, local churches are launching a new campaign to reform immigration. 

Marina Robleto is used to hard work.  She runs a Mexican restaurant on the city's west side.  Marina moved to the U.S. From Mexico 20 years ago.  But, it took her ten years to become a U.S. Citizen ten years she was scared she could be sent back to Mexico at any time.
"It was scary and it was like always living with the scared to be stopped for police," said Marina.
Marina was one of the lucky ones.  There are millions more Americans many of them Hoosiers that feel shut out of the system.  That's why they're rallying here launching the campaign for citizenship.  
IndyCAN, a multi-faith network of church congregations, is spearheading this effort.  It's a state-wide launch of Campaign for Citizenship.  That's a national effort to get lawmakers to pass legislation defining clear rules for immigrants to become legal citizens in seven years.
Jesus Ramirez is only a high school student, but he's fired up!  At the young age of 16, he's already a community leader fighting passionately for his right and  his family's right to stay in America and gain U.S. citizenship.
"My family originally moved here because we were fleeing some violence in Mexico.  My uncle was burned alive in Mexico," said Jesus.
But, that goal of pursuing the American dream has turned very dark for many of these families living here in fear in illegal status.  
They hope this fight will bring security.
"Getting us a SS number, a work permit and getting us a license and after that we can take time of seven years to apply for citizenship," said Jesus.
Eight U.S. senators are expected to introduce immigration reform legislation in the next few weeks with the hope of it becoming law later this year.