Hispanics rally for immigration reform in Ohio

A crowd of Hispanics gathered outside of the Federal Building in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sept. 23 and held a rally for immigration reform. According to the Plain Dealer, chants could be heard as more than 100 Hispanics shouted “Si, se puede” (Yes, it can be done).

The group was made up of mostly working class Hispanics who rallied in downtown Cleveland to protest the government’s lack of action on addressing the nation’s broken immigration system. The source said they were also there to protest deportations that are “tearing apart their families.”

Veronica Dahlberg organized the rally, and there were no elected officials, business leaders or public figures from the Hispanic Cleveland community there to support them. Dahlberg told the Plain Dealer that there has been an increasing desperation in the cause for immigration reform.

Cleveland resident Pedro Hernandez was at the rally to tell his family’s story. Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS reported that Hernandez was granted a stay deportation in 2013 and was denied his request for an extension in August 2014. He and his wife, Seleste, are raising their family, including a son that has cerebral palsy, in Cleveland.

“I pray they overturn the decision and make the right decision. No good will come from removing Pedro from the U.S.,” Seleste Hernandez told the source.

A small number of immigrants from the group as well as attorneys went inside the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement building. When they emerged they announced that Hernandez was granted a stay of deportation for an additional year, allowing him to stay in the U.S. until 2015.

Another rally attendee, Elizabeth Perez, is a veteran. She served 10 years in the military, including some time in Afghanistan, and while she was pregnant with her second child her husband was deported. Perez told the source that she worked with lawyers for a year to get her husband’s immigrant status changed. But unlike Hernandez’s story, this one doesn’t have quite the same happy ending, causing Hispanics to argue even more for putting a stop to deportations.