Citizens and community activists gathered in front of U.S. Senator Rob Portman's Cincinnati office Monday advocating for a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The stop in Cincinnati is a part of Relay Across America, a nationwide campaign lasting from March to May 1 traveling from Washington state to Washington, D.C. The event calls for a humane immigration system that protects undocumented immigrants, including essential workers, DACA and temporary protected status holders, and those who don’t currently have a pathway to citizenship.
Danny Caracheo is an immigrant rights organizer who immigrated with his family from Mexico when he was 5. He says politicians don't tackle immigration issues, unless it's an election year.
"It's only election years when they try to get the votes and everything, but once it's after election year, many elected officials, they just completely ignore the immigrant community," Caracheo said. "During campaign years, they say they support us, but now it's their time to prove it. Prove that you support it."
Samantha Searls is with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center. She says as an ally, it's important to uplift the voices of immigrants and the people that are affected by immigration laws.
"Everybody has a responsibility to do their part to make sure this happens," Searls said. "I encourage everyone to contact their representatives of Congress, specifically those in the Senate, and push them to actually take care of their constituents."
Last Friday, the Biden Administration walked back its announcement to keep the historically low refugee ceiling of 15,000 set by the Trump administration. President Biden says he will raise the cap by May 15.
In March, more migrants were taken into custody at the U.S.-Mexico border than at any time in the past 15 years.