Port St. Lucie resident to speak at immigration event in Washington, D.C.
Immigration activist Manuel Guerra Casas does not qualify for deferred action — President Obama's deportation relief for young undocumented immigrants announced this year. But he hopes to push lawmakers to pass comprehensive immigration reform by telling them about his life as an undocumented immigrant.
The Port St. Lucie resident will join other immigration rights advocates on Dec. 4 and 5 at an event organized by the nonprofit National Immigration Forum in Washington. He said he is part of a group of undocumented immigrants scheduled to speak with Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton. He also hopes to meet with newly-elected District 18 Rep. Patrick Murphy and Sen. Marco Rubio.
Guerra, 28, came from Mexico through the U.S. border when he was a teenager. He could qualify for deferred action because he came to the country before age 16 and is younger than 31. But he does not have documents that prove when he arrived in the U.S.
Guerra works doing landscaping and has been part of several efforts to bring awareness to immigrant issues on the Treasure Coast. He said people who have lived in the U.S. and who have not committed crimes here or in their native countries should have a pathway to legal residency.
He also said he wants to bring attention to immigrants like him who do not fall under the DREAM Act or deferred action.
"Immigration reform should deal more with people who want to respect and do good in America and not just take advantage of the government," Guerra said.