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At the Capitol, Activists Rally for Immigration Reform

Marissa Barnett, KUT News

Several hundred people marched to the Texas Capitol today with a message for state legislators and President Obama: “Listen, we are in the struggle.”

For those who rallied Friday, the struggle is for immigration reform.

The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition hosted what it calls the Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance’s march with participation from partner organizations across the state.

Attendees traveled from San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, El Paso, Brownsville and other Texas towns to join the crowd.

Some members of the Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) made a particularly long journey: “They came from El Paso and they came on a bus overnight, so people really made a sacrifice,” said Cristina Parker, a spokesperson for the non-profit organization BNHR. “They all slept on the bus to be here today so I think that just shows how important it is to them.”

Parker said the first major rally for immigration reform of 2013 should be in Austin. “Our voice should be heard on immigration because we’re a border state,” she said. “We’ve got 1.6 million undocumented Americans living in this state, it’s important to us.”

Compared to previous sessions, very few immigration bills have been filed during the  83rd Texas Legislative session.

But on the federal level, immigration is at the top of the agenda. President Obama has made comprehensive immigration reform a top priority. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, however, has said he does not support an overhaul of immigration laws and advocates stricter border enforcement.   

“We’re here to direct a message to our senators: They can be with us, not against us on this issue,” Parker said.

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