DENVER — Activists in Colorado are taking to the streets for the next several days to garner lawmaker support for an immigration reform bill.
The Renewing Immigration Provisions of the Immigration Act of 1929 (H.R. 1511) would expand a pathway to lawful permanent resident status for qualifying non-U.S. nationals by broadening eligibility under the current registry program.
Under the current law, a qualifying person can become a permanent resident if they are a non-U.S. national who entered the country before January 1, 1972. H.R. 1511 would remove the cutoff date and open the program to eligible people who have resided in the U.S. for at least seven years.
The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) will walk from Denver to Greeley — roughly 64 miles — to garner support for the bill from local lawmakers. The "Pilgrimage for Citizenship" will run from Friday through Monday, and the journey will be split into shifts.
"[H.R. 1151] would open a path for 8.5 million undocumented immigrants right now," said Raquel Lane-Arellano with CIRC.
CIRC members walked from the Colorado State Capitol to Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo's office in North Glenn on Friday to ask her to co-sponsor the bill. According to CIRC, Caraveo is Colorado's only Democratic congressperson who has not co-sponsored H.R. 1511.
CIRC members said staffers turned them away when they tried to go inside of her office to ask questions.
In a statement, a spokesperson said Caraveo is "supportive of creating a pathway to citizenship."
“Congresswoman Caraveo is supportive of creating a pathway to citizenship. She is appreciative of the hard work of groups in our community who advocate for the rights and dignity of immigrants, and looks forward to continued conversation about these important issues," a spokesperson said.
There are several benefits of being a permanent resident, including protection from deportation and eligibility for federal benefits like Social Security.
Homero Ocon, who participated in the pilgrimage, said the bill would allow him to travel to his home country without risk.
"I could be able to visit my family if I get documents," he said.
Omar Gomez said fear keeps him from expanding his tree service business.
"I’m always afraid if I get deported, I can lose everything," said Gomez.
CIRC's pilgrimage will end Monday in Greeley. The group hopes to garner support from Sen. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Michael Bennet.