Advocates for immigration march in SJ

January 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Advocates for immigration reform are vowing to hold the new president to his promise to change the immigration system and to that end they, held rallies across the country on Wednesday. Marchers gathered in San Jose at a shopping center at King and Story Road and moved towards city hall.

The marchers said they voted for Barack Obama because they believe he feels the same way they do about our current immigration system and now it's time for proof.

A coalition of immigrant advocates wanted to remind President Obama of his campaign promise to make immigration reform a priority.

"We must hold President Obama to his promise for just and humane immigration reform," said Richard Hobbs, an immigration reform advocate.

California raids have targeted illegal aliens and arrested them. Their advocates demand a moratorium on those raids, a reduction in the costs associated with naturalization, and passage of the Dream Act -- which would allow undocumented students who are excelling academically to apply for citizenship.

"We're not asking that everyone be let in. We're asking people that are here who have contributed to our economy, to our society, that they're given an equal opportunity to become full members of America," said Vanessa Sandoval, an immigration reform advocate.

They say the legal naturalization process has a backlog that is keeping families apart, in some cases for decades.

"Brothers and sisters of United States citizens who came from the Philippines have to wait 23 years before they can come to the United States," said Bea Pangilinan, from the Asian Law Alliance.

"The United States is no longer what it used to be, we are now the greatest debtor nation on Earth," said Yeh Ling-Ling.

Yeh Ling-Ling is an immigrant herself. She heads a group concerned about border security, high unemployment and health care. Her groups is calling on President Obama enact an immigration moratorium.

"We should enforce immigration laws across the board so we can put unemployed Americans, welfare recipients, and non-violent inmates in jobs currently held by illegals," said Yeh-Yeh Ling, an immigration reform opponent.

Whatever President Obama's agenda, Congress could still be a major obstacle. At the press conference earlier on Wednesday, it was pointed out that Congress has never enacted a law increasing immigration during a year of high unemployment. This is certainly one of those years.