Georgetown students joined thousands of immigrants and their supporters at a rally calling for extensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Advocates for reform hoped to spread awareness of an issue that President Obama promised to make a priority in his administration. “[Our goal] was to remind people that immigration needs to be at the forefront of the issues that are next on the table,” Alma Huerta (SFS ’13) said.

Students from Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán de Georgetown who attended the rally said their goal was to push Congress for a comprehensive immigration reform bill. M.E.Ch.A de Georgetown is an organization that provides a forum for the discussion of Latino culture, community and politics, according to the group’s Web site.

“We wanted the people in the Capitol to hear that [immigration] is an issue we want to talk about,” Donna Hernandez (SFS ’13) said. “We don’t want people to forget about it, we want to put a face to the issue.”

The rally was sponsored by organizations including the Reform Immigration for America campaign, the National Capital Immigration Coalition and Families United/Familias Unidas.

“[The rally] was for people to come together and become aware of the injustices that have been placed upon immigrants and how we can become involved in this issue. This can be done by calling our congressmen and pushing for a just reform,” Francisco Gutierrez (COL ’13) said.

Daisy Saucedo (COL ’13) said she was familiar with the fears immigrants face. “This immigration reform is important to me because it affects my family. Some of my family members are scared that immigration officials will come and take them away. This is unjust to human beings,” Saucedo said. “It is sad to see parents taken away when a child needs them.”

Chants of “Sí, se puede” filled the air at the rally. Posters called for action on legislation that is expected to be discussed in Congress in the coming months.

For some M.E.Ch.A. de Georgetown members, the immigration rally was only the first step in advocating for the rights of undocumented immigrants. Yasmin Serrato (SFS ’13) hoped the rally will serve to raise awareness of the dangers faced by undocumented immigrants in the United States.

“This rally was important because as long as people are profiling and targeting [immigrants], injustice occurs,” Serrato said. “It was my hope that by going to the rally and showing the nation that people do care about what happens to immigrants, I would be able to help the victims of abuse.”

Activists encouraged lawmakers and the public to look at the way current immigration laws divide families and to face the issue with a humanitarian viewpoint.

“This immigration reform is our only hope of survival. When there are families being separated, students being deprived of a higher education, workers being exploited in terrible conditions in exchange for a few dollars, when we have this and much more, we know that this immigration reform is critical in many of our lives,” Gutierrez said.

An immigration reform bill has been introduced by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.).

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