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Vigil Highlights Controversy About Illegal Immigration

Reported by: Ellen Bryan
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Updated: 7/26/2013 12:17 am

A vigil in downtown Lexington tonight fueled the debate about illegal immigration. Family and friends showed their support of Ceferino Santiago who is trying to get back to America.

The 21-year-old illegally immigrated to Kentucky from Mexico when he was 13. His brother, Pedro, said he graduated from Lafayette High School in 2011.

According to Pedro, Ceferino went back to Mexico in April of 2012 for ear surgery. Now he wants to return to Lexington, but can’t get back in the United States.

Today’s vigil was part of the national Bring Them Home campaign of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. Ceferino has joined eight other people in a group called the DREAM 9 who are currently detained at the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona.

“We came here. And now we have established our lives here. I mean, we want to remain here,” Pedro said.

When we asked Pedro about getting his US Citizenship, he said, “We can't even begin talking about that as long as the nine people are detained.”

Legal Immigrant Luis Pozzolo, President of “America for Lawful Immigration Solutions Today,” said they’re doing it the wrong way.

“You come here illegally? You're breaking not only every immigration law, but you're breaking laws to work,” Pozzolo said. “You're breaking laws when you're using welfare. You're breaking laws falsify federal ID’s. You're breaking laws when you falsify federal documentation you fill out to work.”

About the DREAM 9, he said, “Everybody has a right to dream, but to demand, and the way they are demanding. You need to be an American citizen. i think you need to have civic rights to fight. You know you have human rights anywhere around the world but you know coming to a country illegally is not civic rights and it's not human rights.”

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