May 26th, 2010
12:30 PM ET

Long-distance walkers head to Arizona to urge reform

Four college students who just weeks ago completed a four-month, 1,500-mile walk on behalf of immigration reform are headed now to Arizona, to join others in a walk protesting that state's new law cracking down on illegal immigrants.

The students from Miami started their walk to the nation's capital on New Year's Day, seeking to share their personal stories of growing up as undocumented youth in the United States and to raise awareness of the need for immigration reform.

On May 1, Felipe Matos, Gaby Pachecho, Carlos A. Roa and Juan Rodriguez - or the "Trail of Dream Walkers" as they became known - ended their trip by joining thousands of protesters urging President Barack Obama to move on immigration reform.

The walkers had requested a meeting with Obama but instead met with Valerie Jarrett, one of his senior advisers. During the meeting the Trail of Dream team submitted 40,000 signatures they had collected along their trek on a petition asking that Obama issue an executive order that would stop detentions and deportations of undocumented students and families.

"I helped register voters during Obama's campaign based on promises he made about stopping deportations, but he has not kept them" Matos said.

Now they are back on the road, embarking on a four-day pilgrimage starting in Scottsdale, Arizona, and ending in Phoenix on Saturday, where they will join a National Day of Action rally to protest the Arizona law, known as SB 1070.

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Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Winnette

    @mytictac.....naturalization papers are NOT FREE...they actally cost a good bit of money and months of uneccessary waiting and frustration. That being said, I understand your point. I came to America as a refugee and became a permanent resident. Now I am a citizen through naturalization. In the end, it is not so much about the tax hikes or jobs being taken (because let's be honest, many of the jobs illegal immigrants take would not be appealing to the average American); it is about respecting the laws of the state. I came as a refugee because my family was in grave danger and my country was in an ongoing and vicious civil war. Still, even with my life in danger, I went through the proper and legal channels to attain refuge in America. Once here, I found the opportunities indispensible and thus, worked my butt off, paid the fees and filled out the miles of paperwork and testing to become a permanent resident. Trust me, I understand it is not as simple as it may sound. But if it is that important to you, then you have to do what you must to become legal and abide by the laws of the land. Immigration laws are not unjust and are not comparable to the belittling laws that led to the civil and women's rights movements. Let's not exaggerate the situation.

    June 7, 2010 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
    • jack j

      Actually I have to disagree with a statement that illegal immigrants take jobs that US citizens don't want to perform. I did witness entire American owned cleaning industry (long time ago I had a business that employed Easter Europe immigrants as floor cleaners) bankrupted by illegal immigration. American workers would gladly do cleaning, crass cutting, meat packing but they WON'T do it for the wages offered to illegal workers (when I was in business average American worker was getting $7 per hour plus small benefit package for cleaning floors – in 1993-4 – at the same time my company paid 5-5.50 straight no-tax, no benefits 1099 type deal to our people, so we were able to out-bid all American companies (eventually we were pushed out by Mexican companies who payed their people about $4 per hour – so did we hear) – all of this to make profits of the company like K-Mart or Wal-Mart higher.

      Illegal immigration DOES hurt legal workers! Illegal immigrants are willing to accept wages that legal worker WILL NOT. And the whole BS that American workers don't want to cut grass or pack meet or clean is a complete BS!! They just won't perform this work for less than the acceptable wage should be, while an illegal immigrant will...

      June 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. wagonburner

    Free medical, cash assitance, housing and food stamps. Why dont we give them more? lol

    June 7, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. America the great

    Arizona has a culture of intolerance. They started with this immigration law then they banned ethnic studies classes in high schools, and finally they want to ban teachers with heavy accents. These types of laws are very ethnocentric, xenophobic, and yes they are racist, not only against Latinos but against anyone different, anyone who does not fit the stereotypical American profile. I believe that Arizona is misguided in its efforts to curb illegal immigration. These students are marching for a just cause and I applaud them.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  4. America the great

    I don't see anything wrong with having a multicultural multilingual nation. All of us should become multilingual, expand our horizons, and learn about a different culture, study history, anthropology, and political science. I suggest many of you stop spreading hate and open up a book and start learning.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • TammyB

      I don't see anything wrong with this either. I have been to other countries, and have studied different cultures. Guess what I did when I was in someone else's "house"....I followed their rules, carried my passport/visa, ID and if I was asked I complied with showing those things to citizens of that country.

      June 7, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. America the great

    I don't see anything wrong with having a multicultural multilingual nation. All of us should become multilingual, expand our horizons, and learn about a different culture, study history, anthropology, and political science. I suggest many of you stop spreading hate and open up a book and start learning. Learn about free trade and its effects on the people of diffrent nations.

    June 7, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ANava

    I just hope when Az police ask for ID and proof of citizenship, they don't just ask Mexicans.. There's more than 1 race here in the United States that are here illegally.. Keep it fair, ask all races, even white peolpe.. It's a long way from Canada, but you never know.. There might be illegals from Canada, not just Mexico..

    June 7, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • TammyB

      If you live here you have either an Arizona issued State ID or Arizona Driver's License, that you have to prove citizenship to get. I have been stopped and asked. I am white. I think that's pretty fair.

      June 7, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. john hartwig

    We have laws. You obay them or you break them. Lets say you are in line for your welfare check. People are cutting infront of you. Is it fare. That depends on what side of the law you believe. Just because they are handing money out you just do not walk up and say it mine.Here is my point there a lot of people in line to come here they are in line trying to go by the laws our forfathers set up.The correct way. O by the way race has nothing to do about it ..............

    June 7, 2010 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. America the greato

    Racism is still prevalent in the USA and I have experienced it firsthand. It is not just a racism card, it is the truth. There is just so much hate toward Latinos and minorities in the US, legal and illegal. I think people need to reevaluate their opinions and stop spreading hate. Many times it is easy for people to for people to dehumanize others who are different and blame all the problems on them. Its time to stop the hate and look at the root of this immigration problem

    June 8, 2010 at 3:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. AZ Rocks

    Arizona rocks for doing the right thing! It's too bad most politicians are pandering for future votes. This includes both democrats and republicans. As for the Ramon's of the world, he should take his own advice and get a one way ticket to Mexico. He obviously likes the Mexican people better since he wants them all to live here.

    As for Apache, you lost the war bro! Sorry it didn't turn out different for you.

    June 8, 2010 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  10. Steve-O

    Anyone remember the Cuban Boat Lift?...Yeah, it was that little deal down in Miami when Castro decided the way to rid his jails and country of all their rapists, murderers, child molesters, etc. was to put them all on little rafts and send them floating...destination Miami. Then our illustious leader at the time, Jimmy Carter, (democratic joke) decides, once the underpasses are fully fenced in and the National Guard is called in to get spit on, to give them all "Diplomatic Immunity" and free them. Look at where THAT little blunder got us!...1.) You can't even go into a McDonald's and order a meal without a translator 2.) The second highest crime rate in the country for the past 30 years!...and that was just a few thousand "immigrants". Now imagine what shape we'll be in after another 30 years of open borders, especially Mexico.

    June 8, 2010 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JEFF

    IM sorry that some of you are confused and dont even know what it is that you think.... Perhaps you should go back to school and educate yourselves about what the defintion of what ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION means. Illegal immigration is the movement of people across national borders in a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country. Illegal immigrants are also known as illegal aliens to differentiate them from legal aliens. Conversely, illegal emigration refers to unlawfully leaving a country.

    August 3, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
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