Our first day started strong. Around noon we stopped by Riverside Community Church at Hood River, meeting with advocates for immigrants at the NORCOR prison. These advocates were Vicky, Jean, Graciela, and Lorena, and the amount of passion they exuded affected us all. Many of us had known little about the experiences that immigrants faced- to hear dedicated people share first-person encounters opened another side to the story, one that isn’t muddled by popular media.
One two-hour drive later we arrived at Yakima to meet with Eamonn Roach, an immigrant attorney. We’ve learned more about the history associated with immigration law in the United States. One fact that stood out to many of us was the alarming amount of time it takes for immigrants to gain green cards, or even work permits. Not many of us, at least for me, had not immersed ourselves in the technical sides of this issue. It only lets us be more aware of the sheer difference between how being and not being born in the United States can deeply affect someone’s life.
As I said in my reflection earlier this evening, I was impressed by how much we have learned in one day. I can’t imagine what else we’ll learn as we progress into the week and gain more perspectives of this social injustice.
-Alysha Naone, Rural Immersion 2018