Latinos speak with lawmakers about immigration, education reform


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN GUSKY

Posted on February 5, 2013 at 7:22 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 5 at 7:41 PM

AUSTIN -- About 200 Latinos from across the state gathered at the Raddison Hotel Tuesday morning for the first Texas Latino Advocacy Day.

The group met with Lawmakers at the State Capitol, urging them to take action on immigration reform this legislative session. 

“This is an issue that is important to many of us, whether we've been here many generations or whether we just got here,” said State Representative Eddie Rodriguez. 

Rodriguez shares the group’s concern about the controversial issue. 

“It's a little bit more quiet this time, this session, than it has been previous sessions for some reason. I'm guessing because it's being tackled on a federal level in a more serious way right now,” he said.

Students from East Austin College Prep were at the Capitol as well, ready to let their voices be heard.

“I have friends that are immigrants and I really want to help them stay here," said 15-year-old Athziry Loreto.

“A lot of my family actually want to come to Texas to have a better life but they can't because they don't have their papers,” said student Alessandro Hernandez.

There are more than 9.5 million Latinos in Texas and the number continues to grow. In fact, Latino students make up nearly half of all the children in the state, and in public schools.

That's why Rodriguez believes education is the biggest issue facing lawmakers this session.

“The numbers show most kids in public schools in Texas,” Rodriguez said. “And if those kids aren't getting the education they need, it's a pretty bleak future for our state.”

Latino advocates say they'll continue the call for action at the Capitol for as long as it takes.