• March 2nd, 2024
  • Saturday, 03:22:43 AM

Advocates Walk 60-Mile Pilgrimage to Demand Legislation for Citizenship

Immigration Activist Carlos Rojas spoke at the Colorado State Capitol during a press conference on Dec 1, 2023, initiating a 4-day pilgrimage to call on the State’s elected officials to support updated legislation for undocumented immigrants. (Photo: Chanel Ward for El Semanario)


By Chanel Ward


Below freezing temperatures last Friday morning didn’t deter a group of immigrant activists from their goal to call on lawmakers, urging them to update the states registry law – a bill that hasn’t been updated in nearly 40 years – in this call to action, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC), activists, allies, and the press gathered on the steps of the State Capitol, where a press conference was held, before the valiant activists began their journey from Denver to Greeley, in a selfless and freezing 4-day, 60-mile-walk, in a Pilgrimage for Citizenship.


“We want to call to action to the Representatives who have not signed on publicly or in any other way to support the updating of this bill,” said Gladis Ibarra, Co-Executive Director of CIRC, at a press conference on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. (Photo: Chanel Ward for El Semanario)

“This is an action—an event advocating for immigrant rights—which has taken a lot of capacity to pull off,” said immigration activist, Carlos Rojas, at the Friday morning rally. “It is really led by our leaders who have a commitment to continue the fight for citizenship and specifically to advocate for the piece of legislation called the Change of Registry Act, which would allow passage for around 8.5 million undocumented immigrants who have been living in the United States for years, for the chance to come out of the shadows and apply for citizenship.”


The registry provision was first enacted in 1929 as a law for certain immigrants who had been living in the United States, continuously since 1921, to apply for permanent residency. The law helped those living here to make a better life for themselves and their families, without the fear of being deported. The bill has since been changed several times to modify the cutoff date for eligibility, but the last time was in 1986.

Immigration advocates began a 60-mile journey last Friday to call on elected officials to create a path for citizenship. (Photo: CIRC)

Anyone who has been in the U.S. since before the established date, currently January 1, 1972, can apply for permanent residency if they meet all requirements. The bill to update the registry would change the date to 7 years prior to the current date. This would benefit anyone who has been in the U.S. for more than 7 years, including DACA recipients, farm workers, and millions of undocumented immigrants who have had no pathway to citizenship for generations.


“We’re doing a four-day walk from today [Dec. 1] until Monday, we’ll be doing 60 miles from Denver to Greeley, through Congressional District 8 to promote the registry, which would create a pathway to citizenship for 8.5 million people,” said Raquel Lane-Arellano, CIRC Communications Manager, last Friday.


Immigration advocates gathered at the State Capitol on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023, to call on the passage of HR1511. (Photo: Chanel Ward for El Semanario)


“We are taking breaks for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day,” Lane-Arellano explained in an interview with El Semanario. “We have a car and support team that’s going to be following the walkers in case anything happens along the journey.”


The pilgrimage began in Denver, stopping first in Northglenn at U.S. Rep. Yadira Caraveo’s office to ask for support for the legislation.

Immigration advocates reach Ft. Lupton on Dec. 3, during a 60-mile pilgrimage to Greeley. (Photo: CIRC)

“We want to call to action to the Representatives who have not signed on publicly or in any other way to support the updating of this bill,” said Gladis Ibarra, Co-Executive Director of CIRC.


On Monday, the leaders embarked on the final stretch of their 60 mile journey across Congressional District 8 in hopes of gaining the support of Congresswoman Caraveo and Senator’s John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet on a bill (H.R. 1511) to update the registry date and create a pathway to citizenship.

Immigration activists are calling for path to citizenship for over 8.5 million undocumented individuals across the country. (Photo: Chanel Ward for El Semanario)

Chanel Ward is an Independent Reporter for The Weekly Issue/El Semanario.