Immigrants In Green Country Glad To See Attempts At Reform
TULSA, Oklahoma - Green Country lawmakers will be alongside Congressional Republicans Wednesday, preparing to draft new immigration reform legislation.
A Senate version passed last month, which sets out a long road to citizenship for millions who are in America illegally.
"There is hope for immigration reform," said Marvin Lizama, an attorney with the Coalition for the American Dream.
He works with immigrants trying to get on the path to citizenship.
"They are probably grandparents at this point and they have been waiting so long sometimes they give up hope, but their fear never ends," Lizama said.
Mariel Luna has been living in fear ever since she came to Tulsa.
"It's a little bit scary, because I'm afraid to get pulled over for police just for any reason and get back to Mexico. That's my biggest fear, because I have family here, I have a baby here, and I cannot imagine myself being away from her," Luna said.
In June, the Senate passed an immigration reform bill. The proposed law would allow undocumented workers currently living in the United States to become legal U.S. citizens.
"It gives me great pleasure to be able to speak out when others won't, because many of them are afraid to live here," Luna said.
She said living here in Tulsa has given her more opportunities for her and her family.
"I like it here, because it's safe," Luna said. "I feel safe walking down the street. I feel safe, just to know that it's different than the place I was born."
Luna said she is willing to wait 15 years to become a citizen.
"To them, it does not make a difference, so long as they can see that--to continue to pursue the American Dream," Lizama said.
"We want to be part of this country. We don't want to be the unknown people. I want to be able to say my name and for people to know that's my real name, because I have an ID, because the state gives me an ID with my real name," Luna said.
The local group IRON (Immigration Reform for Oklahoma Now) opposes the Senate version that was passed in June. The group's website says America cannot afford to add 20 million new citizens, and the U.S. should step up border enforcement.