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• Immigration and Naturalization Service

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• National Association of Korean Americans

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Not Having Papers Is A Cross To Bear
From El Diario
April 20, 2003

By Rosa Margarita Murphy

For the fifth consecutive year, hundreds of Catholic immigrant New Yorkers, celebrated the ‘Way of the Cross of Immigrants’ Friday [April 18th] in memory of people who died in their struggle to live outside of their own country.

The act began about 5 o’clock in the afternoon in front of the office of immigration. Christian immigrants staged the ‘Way of the Cross of Jesus Christ’ live, marching behind a cross of wood, remembering Jesus Christ walking to martyrdom in the Calvary and at the same time asking for a general amnesty for all undocumented immigrants.

“We pray for world peace and also we cry out to the authorities to help us carry this cross, which we have been carrying on our backs by not having documents,” said Emerenciana Guadalupe, 42 years old, while advancing the procession that was directed towards Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan.

Women and children paraded in tunics, with cards that read “The Worthwhile Work is Amnesty,”

“What do I have that’s different?” and “Although I am no different I can’t walk free because I’m an immigrant.”

“Because we are immigrants, things don’t look good for us. It is not fair that we don’t count because we are undocumented. We also contribute to this country, we pay taxes, and even so, my children can’t continue their studies. They don’t have a right to education because they don’t have papers,” said Igancia de León, mother of three.

The faithful gave testimonies of their poverty, at the same time begging God to make the Senators and Congressmen of this country reconsider their positions and revise the immigration laws that have kept them without documents. The laws pressure and exploit those who know what it means to be “without papers,” taking away most benefits possible to them if they could change their immigration status.

“We carry out this activity for the dignity and for the rights of immigrants. Also, we want to let people know of the abuses and injustices that are committed against undocumented immigrants,” stated Alfonso Chino, a member of Tepeyac.

Those present followed the passion and death of Jesus Christ, calling for a better world without borders.

“We are struggling for a general amnesty, and we will continue our fight. May 1st, the day of the worker, we will be in Washington with the goal of having a dialogue with different congressmen about this theme.”

Translated from Spanish by Joshua Brustien

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