By: Lauren Fabrizi
People throughout Lincoln in favor of immigration reform are sending a message to Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.
In a forum Wednesday outside Rep. Fortenberry's office, they said they wanted a clearer pathway for immigrants to become citizens and for their families to stay together. They said in order for that to happen, the U.S. system needs to change.
Brenda Maldonado is a first-generation immigrant. She said this issue hits home for her.
"I would like to see in any legislation that is passed a central component, a clear and effective attainable path to citizenship to the 11.6 million immigrants in this country," Maldonado said.
The immigration reform advocates came out Wednesday as part of Nebraska Appleseed's "Keep Nebraska Families Together" movement. Their goal was to promote common-sense immigration laws that would make becoming a citizen easier.
Numerous children's drawings and postcards urged Rep. Fortenberry to bring this issue to the U.S. House of Representatives.
"It's great to see people who are here today, students, there are some children too, some people that are more actively involved in the community," reform advocate Nina Quinones said. "So it means a lot."
Channel 8 received a response from Rep. Fortenberry on Wednesday's forum.
"We are a nation of immigrants and we are also a nation of laws," Fortenberry said. "A just, orderly and good immigration system cannot exist when there is chaos at the border, a lack of interior enforcement and rewards for illegal behavior."
For now, Maldonado remains hopeful that a change will come.
"I hope that they will go back to Washington and voice the support of their constituents and the effort that we're trying to bring about in this country," Maldonado said.
Nebraska Appleseed has more immigration reform supporters in Columbus, Omaha and Grand Island. They say they will continue to urge Congress to promote what they call the common-sense laws.