Students advocate for immigration reform at lobbying conference

Next weekend, students from across the country will descend on Washington D.C. for the Friend’s Committee on National Legislation’s student lobbying weekend. The gathering comes as millions of refugees try to escape the Ukraine-Russia conflict and scores of Haitian refugees arrive in South Florida.

This year’s student-lobbying event will focus on immigration policy. Students will learn to advocate for changes to current immigration policy. They will meet in-person with members of Congress. 

This year’s gathering at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., includes skill workshops, lobbying  training, networking opportunities, expert panels and more.

Last year’s all-virtual conference focused on legislation to ban chokeholds, no-knock warrants and other laws to address police violence that were part of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021. The bill passed the House last spring, but failed to move beyond the Senate.

Immigration has gained little traction on either side of the aisle, and the students participating in the lobbying conference hope to change that. 

In his State of the Union address last week, President Biden urged lawmakers to “provide a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, essential workers.”

So far there has been little movement in Congress on immigration reform or the stalled Build Back Better bill. 

Last month, Miami Republican Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar introduced an immigration bill that offers what she says are pathways to citizenship. She cited the lack of action on Capitol Hill when introducing the bill, saying, “we must stop pointing fingers and accept the truth.”

 Salazar’s bill has not been taken up in the House.

Angelo Gomez is a journalism and political science double major at Florida International University. He enjoys writing stories about politics and national issues that affect South Florida. He is currently a Hamilton Scholar for the Honors College advocating for immigration reform in Washington DC. He hopes to have a future in immigration and making a change in the country. He is a huge Marvel and Star Wars nerd, lover of all sports and a politics geek.