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Monday, September 16, 2013 - 8:13pm
El Paso, TX (KDBC) — The Sun City played host Monday in what local groups are calling a monumental discussion on border enforcement and immigration reform.
Borderland residents were amped and ready to lend their voices to immigration reform.
"Nobody in the Congress would have come to the border and actually ask border residents about what they want,” Gabriela Casteneda, a member of the El Paso group, Border Network for Human Rights (BNHR) said. BNHR hosted two town hall meetings on Monday. "We want a comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and we do not accept militarization of our borders."
Two town hall meetings took place and many people at UTEP and at city hall are pushing for a clear pathway to citizenship without adding more border patrol agents. "20,000 border patrol agents it's enough."
Lawmakers have been discussing pumping in $46-billion into our borders, doubling agents and adding more infrastructure. Some residents are convinced this is not only a waste of money. "It's not going to go to the school where their children attend, it's not going to go to other programs" But that's it's also a financial plan that has no backing.
Border Congressmen Beto O'Rourke, Filemon Vela, and Raul Grijalva attended the hearings. "We have an obligation to educate people in Washington and all around this country,” Congressman Filemon Vela [D] of Brownsville said.
Coming from borderland communities, both Vela and O'Rourke said they are trying to educate their fellow lawmakers on how Mexico and the US can work together. "We have a much more realistic, more positive story to tell. Communities like ours are among the safest in the country,” Congressman Beto O’Rourke, [D] of El Paso explained.