Immigration debate reaching the Tri-State


JASPER, Ind. (WEHT)- The debate around immigration is being felt right in the Tri-State as Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana) traveled with a delegation of Republican Senators to the border last week.

But the impact of the debate is being felt in Sen. Braun’s hometown of Jasper. Moris Serrano is a husband, father, college graduate, and a dreamer living in Jasper. Serrano was just 12 years old when he came to the United States from El Salvador over a decade ago.

While Serrano is covered by the DACA program that allows some people who arrived in the country illegally as children to stay, he does not have a pathway to citizenship. Serrano says he has to apply for a work permit every two years, meaning that he has to worry every two years about what could happen if his permit is denied.

Still, Serrano says he is grateful for his opportunity to contribute to America. Pastor Irwin Bales knows Serrano but he says there is a lack of understanding on both sides of the immigration debate.

Earlier this year, the Democratic-led U.S. House approved the American Dream and Promise Act that would provide a path to citizenship for millions of people covered by the DACA program. While the bill passed mostly along party lines, nine Republicans voted for the measure. The bill is unlikely to pass in the divided Senate.

According to the Associated Press, more than 16,000 unaccompanied children were in government custody last week. Republican lawmakers are blaming the Biden administration for actions they say are leading more people from Central America to seek entry to the United States.

(This story was originally published on March 28, 2021)

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