A group of faith leaders and immigrant families rallied Saturday, calling on Gov. Mike Pence to withdraw from a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s immigration program.
The vigil at St. Anthony Catholic Church was first meant to be a workshop to help illegal immigrants living in Indiana eventually apply for protection from deportation.
“I moved to the United States because I’m looking for a better future for my family,” Julio Reyes said, who said he is living in Indiana illegally.
Indiana and 25 other states are suing the Obama administration over the president’s executive order that would unilaterally protect millions of illegal immigrants, including undocumented parents of U.S. citizens.
“I’m really mad about that because I really want my parents to be able to have what I have,” Angeles Reyes said.
A number of Hoosier children shared that concern at the event Saturday.
“I now worry about my mother,” Cinthya Perez said. “When I go to work and throughout the day I think about is an ICE agent going to come to her door knocking?”
In February a federal judge suspended the program while the lawsuit is being decided.
In December Pence explained why he directed Indiana to join the lawsuit.
“To have a president of the United States unilaterally act is not consistent with our laws, our tradition, our constitutional framework,” Pence said. “And I thought it was important for the state of Indiana to stand with other states around the country on that principle.”
Organizers of Saturday’s event want to keep the momentum of their message strong.
“The biggest concern is having to live in the shadows,” Tim Winn said with Catholic Charities. “And I would say the biggest goal is to come out of the shadows and not have the fear of deportation.”
On Thursday the Justice Department filed an emergency motion asking the court to lift the ban currently in place. The president’s executive order could affect as many as five million illegal immigrants.