Conflict & Justice

An Undocumented Immigrant Evaluates the Tone of the Congressional Debate

This story is a part of

Global Nation

This story is a part of

Global Nation

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An immigration reform supporter wears a Guy Fawkes mask as he takes part in a May Day demonstration in San Diego, California May 1, 2013. (Photo: Mike Blake/REUTERS)

Gaby Pacheco is undocumented. In 1983, she was just a child when her parents moved the family from Ecuador to the United States.

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It wasn't until 8th grade that Pacheco realized she and her sisters weren't US citizens and didn't have all the rights conferred upon that status.

But Pacheco's reaction wasn't to hide, but to stand up and try to change the law so she could become legal.

In 2010, Gaby Pacheco walked 1,500 miles from Miami to Washington, DC to raise awareness and support for the DREAM Act, which would provided conditional permanent residency to certain undocumented immigrants who had lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment.

The DREAM Act didn't make it through Congress but three years later, Gaby Pacheco is back in Washington to listen to the latest debate on immigration reform.

Pacheco says the mood around immigration reform now is light years ahead of where it was 10 years ago, when she began her activism.

After watching Thursday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on immigration reform Pacheco said, "Seeing the bipartisanship that is happening was a sign that both the Democrats and the Republicans really have a big stake in this and want to get this done."