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'This is our home and we are home': Nebraska immigrants urge support for pathway to citizenship
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'This is our home and we are home': Nebraska immigrants urge support for pathway to citizenship

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Rylee Rumann-Bondi (center) holds a sign as people walk by in 2019 outside of the Farmers Market at 48th Street and Prescott Avenue. Stand In For Lincoln, organized by Joni Gebhard, Sarah Sawin Thomas and Carol Flora, holds events such as this around town to show support for immigrants.

President Biden and his administration are dealing with an influx of migrants at the border.Both Democrats and Republicans are unhappy with the way the situation is being handled. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas says they just need some time."We are dedicated to achieving and quite frankly, are working around the clock to replace the cruelty of the past administration, with an orderly humane and safe immigration process," Mayorkas said. "It is hard and it will take time, but rest assured, we are going to get it done."President Biden met with Mexico's president yesterday to discuss the influx of migrants heading to the border. Customs and Border Patrol says they were averaging about 3,000 arrests per day in January and hundreds of unaccompanied minors were crossing the border daily last month. 

Immigrants who are living, working and going to school in Nebraska with an uncertain future lying ahead of them urged support Friday for proposed immigration reform legislation that would grant them a pathway to U.S. citizenship.

"This is our home and we are home" was the message delivered by a number of speakers during a Nebraska Appleseed virtual news conference conducted on Zoom that featured voices from Scottsbluff to South Sioux City.

With the election of President Joe Biden, immigration proposals to resolve the status of young DACA immigrants and provide a pathway for establishing residency and citizenship for longtime community members are under consideration by Congress.

The so-called "Dreamer" immigrants are residents who came to the United States at a young age when their parents or other relatives brought them across the border illegally.

Their status to remain here legally has been protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that came under periodic attack by former President Donald Trump.

"Immigrant families live in uncertainty," Katherine Lopez of Columbus said.

"Uncertainty and instability" mark their lives, Vanessa Martinez of Nebraska Appleseed said.

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"It's been a real challenge the last couple of years," Raul Arcos Hawkins of Grand Island, who came to the United States when he was 8 years old, added.

Olga Guevara of South Sioux City said immigrant families need stability to join along with their current ability to be vibrant and prosperous.

"From Scottsbluff to South Sioux City, immigrant Nebraskans are lights in our families and communities," Nebraska Appleseed stated.

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"It's time for full inclusion of longtime family members and community members."

Friday's Zoom event marked Nebraska's turn as Kansas passed the torch in a nationwide "Relay Across America" drive to support immigration reform.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7248 or

On Twitter @LJSdon


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