Local Family Shares Immigration Struggles - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Family Shares Immigration Struggles

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YAKIMA, WA. -- Groups across the country protested the need for immigration reform today. One of those protests was held in Yakima. One Yakima family shared their story of immigration and the frustration they have with the current pathway to citizenship.

David Dominguez has been successful in his life but if he hadn't been what he describes as "lucky", it might have never been this way.

"I migrated in 1994 from Mexico City and I was able to come here to the U.S. because of my dad," David Dominguez said. "He was able to get legal status through the Immigration Reform of 1994."

Without that legislation, David may not have become a legal U.S. citizen but his wife, Arnulsa, was not so lucky. Even though she had been in America since she was a teen, getting citizenship was extremely difficult. After their last child was born, Arnulsa was deported back to Mexico and didn't know if she would ever be able to come back.

"The hardest part was not knowing that I might not be able to have my kids here with me," David said. "We moved here from Mexico so we consider the U.S. to be our home."

Eventually Arnulsa was granted citizenship but others struggle to be legalized. Today a few hundred people gathered in Downtown Yakima for National Day for Dignity and Respect. They were apart of over 100 other protests across the country fighting for legislation to help families struggling now like David's once did.

"What's at stake are countless families being separated and torn apart," OneAmerica Director Rich Stolz said. "Folks waiting years to be reunited with loved ones."

The protestors gathered at Representative Hastings' door to demand change.

"It's time to try to pass comprehensive immigration reform through the House of Representatives and Representative Hastings here in Central Washington is a key part of making sure that happens," Stolz said.

Change, so others can have opportunities like the ones David has been lucky to take advantage of.

Calls to Representative Doc Hastings' Office were not immediately returned.

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