VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - For pastor Herbert Mallqui, encouraging members of the Hispanic community to become legal citizens was extremely important, especially because immigration reform had, as of Friday, recently stalled at the federal level and it didn't appear to be coming at the state level either.
"My personal stance," Mallqui said, "is the governor of our state, Nathan Deal, does not support immigration reform."
Mallqui, along with Hispanic businesses, organizations, and fellow community members, planned to walk around Drexel Park Saturday morning to express the importance of going through the citizenship process.
"We are coming out of the shadow. We are showing everyone that we exist," said Mallqui. "Hispanics work from sun up to sunset in the fields. Many hispanics also work in construction."
He said that becoming citizens could help get them better jobs and allow them to better provide for their families, something he stressed was extremely important at the time even though the economy was getting better.
Elliot Lepe had been helping organize the event and was proud to see how big it had become as of Friday. "It makes me very proud that people are actually taking an interest in something that really is a very, very fundamentally moral issue," Lepe expressed.
A small step that could have a big impact.