Proposed immigration reform invigorates local activists
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Monday, a group of U.S. senators announced a bi-partisan agreement on the principles of sweeping legislation to rewrite the nation's immigration laws. Now, the movement on the national level is reigniting the passion of immigration activists in Austin.
At the Worker’s Defense Project headquarters, employees are continuing their mission to improve working and living conditions for undocumented workers and students.
"We see so many people come in here because of our broken immigration system. They are abused, mistreated at work, feel afraid to come forward,” Executive Director Cristina Tzintzun said. “We see students who are undocumented graduate top of their class, but yet do not have a way to move forward."
Defense Project volunteer Eva Marroquen understands that struggle--she works two jobs and attends school. The 39-year-old Guatemalan native said the promise of President Obama's push for an immigration overhaul would change her life.
Tzintzun says the bipartisan support for reform is politically motivated.
"'I think it's absolutely about the vote,” she said. “We saw record numbers of Latinos voting and record numbers of Latinos voting for the Democratic Party."
Edison Research exit polls show Latinos turned out in record numbers in 2012. They accounted for 10 percent of voters. Latinos only made up six percent of voters who cast a ballot in 2000.