Arizonans fight for immigration reform to save their parents

Arizona has long been a key player in the immigration debate. As Congress gets set to adjourn for the year without having passed immigration reform legislation, its actions on the issue in 2014 will be heavily affected by some of the stories coming out of the Grand Canyon State.

Fighting to save her mother
Maria “Guadalupe” Arreola has been in extreme danger of being deported for almost a year now.

Arreola’s daughter, Erika Andiola, who was brought to the U.S. without authorization at age 11, had been serving as a district outreach director for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema after receiving a work permit under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. She spent her time there working on immigration reform, and became increasingly frustrated with the inaction she saw in Congress. But with her mother in peril, Andiola recently left that position to fight full-time to keep her in the U.S.

“Unfortunately for me, a year has passed and we haven’t passed immigration reform and I became very frustrated,” Andiola told the Arizona Republic. “I wasn’t just a staffer there trying to make a career out of it.”

Rep. Sinema has been one of the most active members of the House on immigration reform, fighting for a path to citizenship and a national DREAM Act.

Fighting for his father
Gabriel Zermeno, a member of the Arizona Army National Guard, has a similar story to Andiola’s. He also serves his country under the threat of seeing a parent deported. In his case, it’s his father, who has been living in the country without documentation for 30 years.

Zermeno’s told the Arizona Republic that his fear of being overseas fighting for his country and finding out his father has been deported hangs over him on a daily basis, and it shows how current immigration laws can potentially tear families apart.