Local student joins call for immigration reform




Posted on July 10, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 16 at 1:12 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Supporters of immigration reform held a national day of action Wednesday in cities across the country, including Spokane. Supporters said there is more to the issue than economic benefits and national security. They want people to understand how it is splitting apart families every day.

Emmanuel Lopez is a junior at Gonzaga University. He has traveled across the country advocating for immigration reform. Even though he is a U.S. citizen, many of the people he cares for are not.

"My family is a family of immigrants. All of them were born outside of the United States except for me, and they've been waiting for 20 plus years to have their citizenship," said Lopez.

 The frustration of not knowing what could happen to your parents or siblings is a fear millions of families face.

For Lopez's sisters, it's a challenge they've struggled with for most of their life.    
"They only know the United States as home so it's difficult for them to know that they have to constantly live in hiding," Lopez added.

The message of Lopez and others Wednesday was not to support any specific policy, but to get lawmakers to bring the issue to a vote.

"As long as you're pushing yourself toward something better and as long as you're trying to push for something more meaningful in your life, and as long as you have God on your side, there's nothing that can't be done."

The event in Spokane on immigration reform was one of 40 across the country in 20 different states.