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Activists gather at state capitol urging congress to pass immigration registry update

A small group of activists gathered at the state capitol on Thursday to urge congress to pass a registry update during the lame-duck session.

For a century immigration registry has provided a way for undocumented immigrants to secure a permeant status or green card,  but it has not been updated since 1986. 

This has left more than 8 million immigrants in the dark. With a registry update, this community is hoping this could lead to a potential pathway to citizenship for more than eight million immigrants.

The Colorado Rights Immigration Coalition hosted a Posada Action Rally on Thursday, asking elected leaders to step up and use the posada as a symbol of what the immigrant community is dealing with right now.

The tradition of the posada represents the virgin Mary and Saint Joseph looking for shelter and refuge, just like the immigrant community feels they are doing.


For Laura Peniche, who has been living in Colorado for 24 years, uncertainty at the hands of congress makes her feel uneasy.

"I have a DACA status right now, but that is not a permanent status," Peniche added. 

With her having to renew her DACA status every couple of years, makes her feel as if everything she has built in the U.S. can one day just disappear in a blink of an eye. 

The immigration registry bill would restore an existing pathway to that permanent status for not only Laura, but millions of residents just like her, on DACA and other residents who have lived in the U.S. in a good manner for years.

"We have children, we have families here, we have built lives here…what else can we do to fit in and receive the protections that we need? We don't deserve to live in fear," Peniche cried.

It's a fear of having to leave a country they love.

Doug Nelson, who supports the Colorado Rights Immigration Coalition, believes in the rights of all people.

"People shouldn't have to live in fear in their home, they should enjoy all the rights I have as a resident of this country," said Nelson.

The immigration registry in the past has provided a process for longtime residents who live in the U.S,. and apply for lawful permanent status.


But it doesn't apply to many right now because eligibility requirements have not been updated for decades.

Ian Pham, a spokesperson for the Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition wants change now.

"That law has not been updated since 1986 and so right now any immigrant afterward currently have no pathway to citizenship and there has not been any want or change at the congressional level to fix that issue," Pham said.

Advocates of this community want a rolling registry, which means it would update every few years and prevent running into the current problem.

"What the immigrant community is asking for is for one, for the registry to be updated to Jan  1, 2015, and be continuously updated after that," Pham said.

But that doesn't sit well with many elected officials.

Which is why advocates are urging leaders to hear their cry.

"They say, we will give protections to dreamers then they give money to ICE, immigration and customs enforcement or to border patrol and that is painful because ICE and border patrol take families like mine and we can't keep perpetuating family separation, we need to protect families as a whole," Peniche cried.

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