Midstate immigration advocates fight for path to citizenship to be included in reconciliation bill

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Lawmakers in DC are fighting over a major spending bill deciding what they should cut. But Midstate advocates are pushing to put something in, asking for a path to citizenship for immigrants.

The organization Movement of Immigrant Leaders in Pennsylvania is pushing for there to be a legal pathway for undocumented people to apply for citizenship.

Local DACA receipient Stephanie Nunez is part of that push.

“I was born in Mexico and migrated to the United States when I was five years old,” Nunez said. “It’s a feeling where you just have to be on your toes ready to just be on the lookout of what’s going to happen next.”

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Legal immigration is limited, with paths like work visas or family reunification having strict caps, lots of regulation, and huge backlogs, leaving those who want citizenship stuck.

“I’ve seen too much family separation happening. I’ve seen too many people in our communities have to have that situation where their parent is now being deported,” Burnette said. “Nobody wants to see that, so we can fix that now. We can fix it.”

They say that doesn’t have to happen. Advocates are asking for Vice President Kamala Harris to add a pathway to citizenship into the Build Back Better Bill.

“They’re there to represent the people and we are the people,” Nunez said. “It would honestly open many many more doors than the little ones that I do have open now.”

They believe it could help elevate millions of immigrant families and strengthen the whole economy.

“It needs to happen now, it can’t keep getting put off, and put off and put off. And I know when it happens it’s going to be something that everybody sees the benefits of,” Burnette said.

“We’re all humans. We’re all here with the same purpose, to give our family better futures,” Nunez said.

MILPA says there are around 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S., with as many as 200,000 of them in Pennsylvania.

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