Nine Catholic sisters, part of Nuns on a Bus national tour, stopped in Bakersfield over the weekend, where they joined others at Yokuts Park for a rally and then short march to the office of Rep. Kevin McCarthy.
"Bakersfield is ground zero for immigration reform," said Sister Simone Campbell, organizer of the Nuns on the Bus tour.
Campbell and other speakers, including labor activist Dolores Huerta, urged the crowd to contact McCarthy's office and tell him to support the proposed legislation. Up to now, McCarthy has refused to say whether he supports the bill crafted by a bipartisan group of four Republicans and four Democrats.
"Congressman McCarthy, what's up with you? You're not getting the message," said Huerta.
Among other things, the proposed bill now under debate in the Senate would provide a pathway to citizenship for roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants, but only after border security improvements are made.
A great number of Kern County residents stand to be directly impacted by the passage or failure to pass such a bill.
"It's going to give me the chance to contribute to this country," said 18-year-old student Angelica Orbe. She said she was 2 years old when she was brought to this country without documents from Mexico.