Faith-based groups joined with immigration advocates

March 20, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Faith-based groups joined with immigration advocates in Fresno Wednesday, calling for Congress to approve a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

At a press conference put together by Faith in Community, Fresno State student Brenda Noriega described her own father's fear of living as an illegal immigrant. "He was afraid all of the time to go to the grocery store and be deported," said Noriega. Noriega shared her father's story as Faith in Community launched its "Campaign for Citizenship." The group doesn't just want immigration reform; they want citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Fresno State professor Matthew Jendian said some of those undocumented immigrants are his students. "It can be better for those students and their families. So they can come out of the shadows and have a life without fear. It's amazing how they're performing in those conditions," said Jendian.

Faith in Community is a part of the PICO National Network, which believes comprehensive immigration reform should include citizenship for the undocumented within seven years. And the buzz is growing in Washington. On Tuesday, Tea Party favorite Senator Rand Paul told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Republicans need to get behind comprehensive immigration reform.

But Michael Der Manouel, Jr. with the Fresno County Lincoln Club told Action News any immigration solution needs to begin with infrastructure. "A lot of this discussion is moot because even if we pass a bill, I don't think the government can deliver the bill, the executions. We're going to have an 8-10 year wait no matter what... How come we're not fixing that? We could do that now," said Der Manouel, Jr.