Students Speak out for Immigration Reform
"We must end this nightmare."
No issue is more pressing, Felipe Cruz says, than solving an immigration system he says tears families apart.
"This law needs to be in place, needs to be more humane and less punitive," the Grand Island activist said.
Some say those punished are kids like Paolo Carrillo who dream of going to college and becoming professionals.
She said, "As my senior year approached, I was closer to graduating and it was really hard to decide whether or not I was going to be accepted into school program, because I don't have a Social Security Number."
She came to Grand Island when she was five and excelled in school.
But some would argue these kids are lawbreakers and should be deported.
But for these young women, Nebraska is all they've ever known.
"I grew up here, I may not have been born here, but I made friends here, I made relationships with teachers and community members that have supported me and my dream and are glad to see what I've accomplished," Carrillo said.
They gathered outside Congressman Adrian Smith's office in Grand Island calling for reform.
But many Republicans like Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama say what they want amounts to amnesty, which they believe rewards lawbreakers.
And in politically charged times, these Nebraska activists admit any change won't come easily.
Cruz said, "We understand, but also know American people are family oriented."
And that's the message here, that children of those who entered the country illegally find themselves in no man's land.
"Any second the government could come and pick up my dad and my mom and send them home," Paolo Carrillo said.
She took advantage of a deferred action program to get a social security card which opened the door to college.
And she believes others like her should have the same opportunity.
Congressman Adrian Smith issued a statement to NTV, saying public input is critical to fix what he calls a broken immigration system.