by Andrew Crisp
Nampa citizens assembled this afternoon to call for "legalization for all," as part of a nationwide movement urging lawmakers to give immigrants a chance to become citizens.
The Fair Immigration Reform Movement launched the Northwest Keeping Families Together Bus Tour and other tours to bring immigration issues to communities across the country. Stops in Burley and Nampa were arranged to bring families to those towns to tell their stories.
Outside the Hispanic Cultural Center, a rally assembled to welcome the bus.
A handful of rally-goers dialed the offices of Idaho's congressional lawmakers, including Republican U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo and Republican U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador. They voiced their concerns to lawmakers' staff on speakerphone, using a P.A. system to amplify the sound for the crowd.
"He's been very supportive of the Hispanic community here in Idaho. I'm urging him, please, to support an immigration proposal that focuses on family unity and a path to citizenship," Ana Marie Schachtell told Crapo's office. "We would really appreciate it if he could support the Hispanic community again."
After the calls, the crowd chanted "Si se puede!" and "reforma!," led by Spanish radio host Gustavo Acosta of 101.9 FM in Nampa.
Monica Salazar, a Nampa immigration attorney, said she experiences the effects of a broken immigration system on a daily basis.
"I work with many immigrants families and have done so for many years now, and so I am very personally acquianted with the suffering that families go through when their loved ones are without proper status," she said.
Salazar was born in Los Angeles, she said, after her mother crossed the border into the United States. Later, she attended and graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, attended law school and became a member of the State Bars of Idaho and California.
"Had she not risked her life coming to this country, seeking an opportunity that she did not have in her own home, my destiny would be very different," said Salazar of her mother.