Taylor community gathers for immigrants and reform

TAYLOR, Texas— A three-day march is underway from Taylor to Austin by a group that wants Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to drop his opposition to a controversial immigration reform plan.

The journey began Thursday morning in at the T. Don Hutto immigration detention facility.

Organizers call the event a pilgrimage to Austin. Among those in this group of about 50, was Alejandro Gutierrez. Two decades ago he, along with his family, crossed the border illegally crossed from Mexico into the U.S.

His journey Thursday morning is now about saving a program that would prevent his deportation because his three kids were born in Texas.

"I march for my community, I march for my family, and I march for the dignity of workers," said Gutierrez.

The three-day walk is scheduled to end at the Governor's Mansion.  Once there, the group will protest Gov. Greg Abbott's opposition to president Obama's executive order to defer the deportation of almost five million undocumented immigrants.

"We know that the Texas economy is dependent on immigrant labor and that in the construction industry, there are one million workers that are building this state and roughly 50-percent of those workers are undocumented, so we know that our businesses, our economy and our families need real reform," said Brigid Hall, who works with the Workers Defense Project.

Texas and 25 other states filed a lawsuit against the president's immigration plan in 2014, which by-passed congress. Earlier this month, a federal court issued a ruling that blocked the controversial executive order. Ironically, for the supporters of the executive order, President Obama shares some blame for its setback.
The court, in its ruling, noted that President Obama has said in the past that he did not have the authority to do what he did.

Marchers say the Texas lawsuit is an attack on families, but Gov. Abbott dismissed that notion in a recent interview with fox news.

"The ruling form the court of appeals shot that down very easily saying the Department of Justice and Homeland security, they still had the latitude to work on these issues case by case basis, but what they did come out and also say is that the president does not have the unilateral authority to grant amnesty to millions of people," Gov. Abbott said.

It’s unlikely this pilgrimage will change the governor's position on the president's executive order. But the journey to Austin could eventually provide a path to a potential compromise, which has been very difficult to find.

The pilgrimage will pick up again Friday morning and will stop for the day at the Workers Defense Project office in Manor with a candlelight vigil.  The rally at the mansion on Saturday is set to take place around noon.