Immigration advocates hold prayer vigil at Arizona Capitol

Posted at 9:50 PM, Jan 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-15 00:47:34-05

Dozens of pro-immigration advocates and community members marched to the State Capitol for a prayer vigil to support immigrant rights as the new administration ushers in new uncertainty.

"We do not know what is going to happen. We do not know. And for example, in my case--just try to prepare for the worst,” said Perla Salgado, who was brought to the country at only 6 years old.

If the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program were to be repealed, it would affect her whole life.

"I mean everything from being able to drive, to being able to work. Just everything would change, everything would change. DACA was perhaps a monument to get your life back,” Salgado said.

State Rep. Tony Navarette, who also works with Promise AZ, the immigrant rights group that hosted the event, says he hears from families who are terrified of what could happen.

"We want to make sure that families know that we are a resource, and we are here to protect them. We're here to work with them,” Navarrete said.

Advocates say the election set the tone for how future immigration talks could go, and they are fighting against it.

"It was very, very divided, and just a lot of language that quite frankly, Arizona is used to. We cannot use hateful language,” said Petra Falcon, Promise AZ Executive Director.

Before the march and prayer vigil, the group met at St. Matthew’s Church with a panel of community leaders to educate them on their rights. Immigration lawyers, as well as representatives from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Mexican Consulate were there to answer questions.

“We don’t know what the next few weeks will be like, but we do know what we’ve been listening to,” Falcon said. “We’ve all been hearing the messages that we’re getting from the new administration, and we’re just here to prepare for what might perhaps be happening.”

They say they want to help the immigrant community move forward and provide them with information on the immigration process and immigrant rights.

The event was also part of the National Day of Service.