By Zuo Yang: PNT staff writer
For Marina Pina, who came to the United States from Mexico five years ago, her first trip to Washington, D.C., was not a tour. It was to march for immigration reform.
Immigrants from across the country participated in “March for America” on March 21 in the nation’s capital. Pina, president of the Association to Help Our Race Advance (AHORA) of Eastern New Mexico University, was one of five from Portales also involved.
The goal of “March for America” is to call on the president and Congress to move an immigration reform proposal forward this year, Pina said.
“We had a rally first. We had activists and they were on the platform. This is something really exciting because we got to see and hear Jessie Jackson,” Pina said. “After the rally, we went to the National Mall. We had activists talking. And the next day we went to visit Senator (Jeff) Bingaman.”
Marian said she had an opportunity to Bingaman about immigration reform. She told him about the group’s efforts on immigration rights in Portales and their desire for reform.
She said Bingaman, D-N.M., responded that he would work on the issue.
“It’s amazing and I think it’s making difference in our community,” said Nisael Castillo of Portales, who also participated in the Washington march.
Pina and her colleagues next plan is to work on getting a Dream Act Resolution adopted locally and at the state level.
According to Pina, the Portales School Board had passed the Dream Act Resolution on March 8 when it was presented by AHORA.
The Dream Act was written and introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois and U.S. Rep. Howard Berman of California to help undocumented young immigrants to have a conditional path to citizenship in exchange for completion of a college degree or two years of military service.
“This is our country. We want to help this country succeed. We want to help the economy as we’re helping already,” Marina said.