But organizers say they appreciate the momentum of a new administration and growing public support for giving people in the United States illegally a chance to obtain citizenship. Activists note that they are also more seasoned.
“The movement has matured,” said Lorella Praeli, Peruvian-born co-chair of Community Change, among the national groups leading the campaign. “It’s more diverse, more experienced.”
Praeli, now 32, was brought to the United States at the age of 10 so she could get better medical treatment after losing a leg in an accident. She became an immigrant activist as a teenager.
Praeli honed her skills as the Latin American Community Outreach Director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign before addressing the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
She said the new battle is being fought at different levels, from grassroots organization in communities to lobbying on Capitol Hill. The five groups chairing the campaign are funding the effort with their own fundraising,
“We need a quick breakthrough in immigration,” Praeli said. “We have 100 days to set the tone.”
Patrice Lawrence, Jamaica-born co-executive director of the UndocuBlack network, said the campaign represented all immigrants “regardless of what color our skin is, where we live, if we work, how we pray or how old we are.
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