MERRILLVILLE | Eight members from Organize For Action rallied Monday in front the office of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville, for immigration reform.
Signs that read, "We are all immigrants" and "Immigration reform now" showed support of the immigration reform bill that passed in the Senate recently.
The bill will create an opportunity for citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the nation. The bill also addresses border security and employment of undocumented immigrants.
The bill has yet to pass the House, and Organize For Action members made nationwide efforts to hold grass-roots action events at the offices of representatives.
"The main focus for our organization is to get people together and light a fire under the local politicians' feet," said Cheryl Laux, Organize for Action Central Indiana Chapter leader.
Visclosky wasn't in the office, but organization members stepped into the building to ask his office staff to deliver their message to the representative.
Laux, in her speech in front of Viscloscky's office building, said there are 11 million people who "need to come out of the shadows."
They are people who want to work and support their families and are not "a drain on society," she said.
There was an Organize for Action member who personally attested to knowing two out of the 11 million.
"Twenty-seven years ago, my husband came to this country on a vacation. That vacation lasted 27 years," said Ciarra Jean Mardy, of Gary.
Her husband, Jean Yves, came with his family from Montreal, Canada, when he was a child. Ciarra and Jean Yves Jean Mardy, high school sweethearts, didn't learn the truth until they began applying for financial aid for college.
Jean Yves Jean Mardy found out he couldn't get grants because he wasn't a U.S. citizen.
He received a football scholarship and paid the rest of his tuition out of pocket, graduating from Mesabi Range Community and Technical College in Minnesota.
He is currently a coach for Lew Wallace High School. Jean Yves Jean Mardy is on the path to citizenship, but the passing of this bill will help him get citizenship more quickly.
It will also help bring his sister, who was deported to Montreal in 2005, into the country.
"At first he wasn't comfortable with having this known about him, but now he says, 'I don't care if it will bring my sister back,'" Ciarra Jean Mardy said. "I'm just trying to keep my family together."