“I joined this overnight sustained action to highlight the urgency of this moment,” Ruiz continued in the statement. “DACA recipients like me, and undocumented people like my mom, live each day with the fear of detention and deportation. Democrats have long said they want to make a difference in the lives of immigrants, and now is their moment to deliver.” While Ruiz can’t vote, her son did for the first time in the 2020 election.
“I also organized in my home state of Arizona to help deliver victory to President Biden and Senator Kelly in 2020, and organized in 2018 to elect Senator Sinema,” Ruiz continued. Another undocumented leader from Arizona, Erika Andiola, worked for Sinema when she was in the House. In the 2020 election, Latino (and Indigenous) activists helped deliver the state for Democrats. “Now it’s time they use the power we gave them,” Ruiz continued. “We have a historic opportunity right now to deliver a pathway to citizenship for millions of people, including millions of undocumented people who call Arizona home.”
This was the message echoed by many activists at Tuesday’s rally, who urged Congressional Democrats to continue advancing a pathway to citizenship in the budget reconciliation package despite one Senate staffer’s non-binding opinion. Latino Rebels’ Pablo Manriquez reported Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s speech at the rally zeroed in on Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, and “called on Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to disregard” the opinion. Nor is this the first time a legislator has called on the chamber to disregard her opinion:
“This week, I took off from college and traveled over 2,000 miles from California to D.C. to make sure that my voice and the voice of my community is heard,” said UWDA member Leidy León. She traveled for her mom, an essential worker who works with the elderly. She ended up contracting COVID-19 earlier this year, “a very scary time considering she doesn’t have health insurance.”
“President Biden and Democrats have told us how grateful they are to undocumented essential workers, like my mom, and how much they want to help undocumented young people like me,” León continued. “Now is the time to turn their words into action and pass a pathway to citizenship, using all the tools at their disposal. No excuses, only action!” Polling has shown that not only do Americans across parties lines support citizenship for young immigrants, temporary status holders, and essential workers, Democratic voters, in particular, will be majorly pissed off if they don’t act.
Organizers said young immigrants and allies from nine states and D.C. participated in the action, with help from partners from CASA, CHIRLA, and NAKASEC. They were joined at one point by California Rep. Lou Correa, who United We Dream will not vote for a package that doesn’t include legalization. Illinois Rep. Chuy Garcia has made a similar commitment. “I will continue to work for immigration to be included in reconciliation,” Rep. Correa tweeted. “Your stories inspire me and thank you for sharing them with me!”