Tennessee immigrant & refugee group head to Washington to fight for pathway to citizenship

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Members of a state-wide immigrant and refugee-led collaboration are heading to Washington. This comes after a pathway to citizenship was denied in a new spending bill.

On Sunday, the Senate ruled that immigration reform policies could not be included in the Democrat’s $3.5 trillion spending bill proposal.

Now, members of the group are heading to Washington as part of a national effort to create change.

News 2 spoke with an advocate from Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) about this decision.

“Today, more than 30 people from Tennessee are heading to Washington, D.C. for a movement to advocate for a pathway to citizenship for immigrants that live here in this country,” said Dulce Castro.

Castro is 22-years-old and originally from Mexico. She moved to Nashville at a young age and is a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.

“I’m the first member of my family to go to college and to graduate as well. I’ve been here most of my life. I arrived here when I was six-years-old,” she said.

Castro said her parents are undocumented, and she takes this decision personally.

“I come from a mix-status household. Me and my older brother are DACA recipients. My younger sister is a U.S. citizen, and my parents are undocumented. This is very important. I’ve been part of the immigrant movement since I was 15-years-old,” explained Castro.

Castro believes change is necessary.

“Sometimes the policies at the moment are not just for our communities. I believe in bringing out communities together for this reason. It’s not only about empowerment, but it’s also about finding justice for them.”

Castro told News 2 creating this path for immigrants would mean the world to her.

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“We have lived here for like 13-14 years and within those years, we haven’t been able to travel back to see our family members. If we had a pathway for citizenship, we would be able to go visit family members. My mom and dad have lost family members and they could not go back because of the fear they wouldn’t be able to come back and be with us, the family,” explained Castro.

Castro said her parents often worry about deportation.

“That fear comes to our head more often, and it’s always there,” said Castro.

She hopes to see other groups from across the country join them in their efforts.

“As human beings you have a right. I’m just really excited for this moment, and I hope that people are open-minded and willing to listen to different stories because not every story is the same. We are here because we’re a community, and we care for others. We genuinely care for families to be together and stay together,” said Castro.

Senate Democrats have prepared an alternative proposal for the parliamentarian’s consideration in the coming days.

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