(Press and Communications Office / March 12, 2010) – Jorge Guerrero, the consul of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in New Orleans, Louisiana, recently joined Venezuelan activist and student Carlos Roa, one of four Latino students participating in the “Trail of Dreams” immigration reform campaign, during a stop in Atlanta, Georgia.
The campaign started on January 1, 2010 when Roa and three other Latino students started a 1,500-mile walk from Miami, Florida to Washington, D.C. to demand that action be taken on immigration reform. Guerrero, in representation of the Venezuelan government’s humanistic policies and in solidarity with social movement across the region, joined the four youths during a demonstration in front of the Gwinnett County Courthouse in Lawrenceville, Georgia, located to the northeast of Atlanta.
Roa is joined by Ecuadorian Gaby Pacheco, Brazilian Felipe Matos and Colombian Juan Rodriguez on the walk. The four, three of whom are undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, visited the Sheriff’s Office in Gwinnett County, one of the counties in the U.S. where local police have been trained by federal immigration authorities to identify and deport undocumented immigrants. The federal program, known as 287(g), was passed by the U.S. Congress in 1996 and reinstituted after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Roa, an architecture student at Miami Dade University who was brought to the U.S. by his family two decades ago, has not been able to normalize his immigration status in the U.S. Regardless of the potential of being detained and deported while in Gwinnett County, Roa before 300 people on the urgency of immigration reform.
During the demonstration, the four students were accompanied by local activists, immigration reform advocates and undocumented immigrants that waved signs and sang songs against the roundup and deportation of innocent undocumented immigrants.
Roa expressed his pleasure with the attention and support granted by Guerrero, who gave him a valid Venezuelan passport, one that Roa had lacked for 20 years. “We gave Carlos a new passport and we let him know that he could count on our support. The Venezuelan government is concerned with the protection of his rights, and we will do what we can to help without interfering with U.S. laws,” said Guerrero. The three other youths indicated that they hoped that the presence of the Venezuelan government would serve as an example for their own governments.
The four are set to arrive in Washington, D.C. on May 1, 2010.