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Youth Struggling for Immigration Reform in the U.S. Meet with Venezuelan Ambassador

Young Latin American leaders Carlos Roa, Gaby Pacheco, Felipe Matos and Juan Rodríguez met with Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Álvarez in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to request his support for the rights of undocumented immigrants U.S. The four youth leaders arrived in the nation’s capital on April 28 after a four-month-long walk from Florida known as the “Trail of Dreams.”

The “Trail of Dreams” highlighted the history of the four as a means to promote immigration reform in the U.S. The four walked to represent the millions of undocumented Latin Americans who have grown up in the U.S. but have not been allowed access to higher education or a legal status.

“We want the government to stop deportations and the separation of families,” said Venezuelan Carlos Roa, when talking to Ambassador Bernardo Álvarez in the diplomatic mission. “The separation of families is the worst thing this system does. We need a fair immigration reform in Congress.” The young leaders also mentioned the recently approved law in Arizona, saying, “This law violates human rights and criminalizes immigrants in this country.”

The four joined the massive immigration march carried out in Washington, D.C., on May 1.
During the meeting with Ambassador Álvarez, the four Latin Americans said that they were part of a student movement which has increased its presence in the U.S. Therefore, they expect to meet with President Obama.

“We requested a meeting with President Obama one month ago and the White House has tried to schedule meetings with other officials, but we stressed that we walked 1,499 miles to come here and talk to President Obama,” said Colombian Juan Rodríguez. “We know that he has great power to influence the process of immigration reform. We’ve been hearing that from several congressmen.”

During the meeting, Ambassador Álvarez expressed the Venezuelan government’s solidarity with this movement of struggle for fundamental civil rights such as the right to have identity, education and family. “You are the proof that the issue of immigration is an aspect that reaches into the deepest corners of this society and the entire region,” said Ambassador Álvarez.

“From here, we transmit our feelings of solidarity not only with our fellow Venezuelans, but also with the Latin American community. They can count on us in this struggle,” said the Venezuelan ambassador.

The group of young Latin Americans expects to be in Washington, D.C. for a few more days to meet different sectors and wait for the meeting with the U.S. president. Subsequently, they will travel to Arizona to join the movement against the anti-immigration law, S.B. 1070.

Photo by: Néstor Sánchez Cordero

Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the U.S. Press and Communications Office / May 6 2010

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