There was an Immigration March and Rally for Path to Citizenship this Saturday on October 16, 2021, in Riverhead. Our own Dominican Sister Margaret Smyth – founder of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate – addressed the crowds and urged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Congress to pass legislation creating a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the United States.
The group of more than 200 marched from the North Fork Spanish Apostolate offices at St. John the Evangelist Church, Riverhead, to the Peconic Riverfront.
According to the “Riverhead Loyal,” Jonathan Zelaya, a DACA recipient since 2012, spoke at the rally about coming to the U.S. from El Salvador at age ten.
“DACA was a life-changing experience,” he said. “To be able to legally drive, to get a job, to go to college. You can’t go to college unless you have papers. You can’t get financial aid… “This is my home. This is their home…It is not fair to be treated this way. I don’t know any other home. It’s something we deserve. We’ve been working here. We work hard. We do no harm to anybody.”
Miguel Flores said many people come to the U.S. on work visas but the situation in their home countries becomes too difficult and they cannot return. They obtain TPS, but they continue to live with uncertainty as the program is battered by lawsuits and politics.
“We have families, jobs, homes, communities. It’s time now to have full participation with the opportunity to become a citizen,” Flores said. “Sen. Schumer, Congress, please listen to us. See how much we have contributed to our country to build it. Move, act, pass the laws. We are still waiting.”
Article written By Denise Civiletti
Photo taken by ©Gregory A. Shemitz