Lehigh Valley

Human Rights Worker says immigration reform starts beyond our borders

Human Rights Worker says Immigration Reform needs work

The government shutdown may be the hot topic in Washington but immigration reform is still on the minds of many in the U.S.

And for one human rights worker, the solution to the problem starts beyond our borders.

Gabriela Martinez spoke to a packed room at the LEPOCO Peace Center in Bethlehem Thursday night.

Martinez works in Mexico with the Jesuit Migrant Services, she says she seen firsthand the plight of migrants who travel for days from Central America through Mexico, all with the goal of making it to the United States.

"Of every hundred undocumented migrants who enter Mexico, only 20 are successful at reaching the United States. The rest are lost, they die or disappear along the way, it really is a humanitarian tragedy" she said.

Martinez adds although she believes that immigration reform is something that is needed, she doesn't think what's being proposed in Washington will make much of an impact on what she thinks is the real problem.

"Immigration reform is good because it will help the people who are already here in the United States but it doesn't consider those who will those who plan on coming in and want to come" she said.

She says the only way to make a change is to start in Central America and begin by helping in the economic development of the countries the migrants say they're escaping for a better life.

"This is an economic issue, it's an injustice of economics and of violence not a national security issue" she said.

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