PORT ARTHUR-By: Leslie Rangel
Senators unveiled a new plan in Washington to break the gridlock on immigration reform. The "Super 8" senators as they are being called are made up of four Republicans and four Democrats.
The plan has four main elements including offering a path for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, creating a system to better document employment and improving the system for granting worker permits for people coming to the United States.
A Port Arthur College student tells KFDM he knows first hand what it feels like to live in the shadows worried about deportation.
Juan Rodriguez has an active voice in immigration issues, his most recent trip took him to Washington D.C. to lobby for immigration reform. He says he's working to bring change for his parents and others who are undocumented.
"My parents still have to struggle to see them not able to go visit my grandfather that was diagnosed with cancer," Rodriguez says.
He says his parents aren't the only ones who have experienced the struggles. His dream was to become a Longhorn at the University of Texas at Austin.
"I was unable to attend because of my undocumented status, I was devastated, heart broken," Rodriguez says, fighting back emotions.
Rodriguez applied for a student work permit in 2012. A time when early reforms like Deferred Action allowed undocumented students to avoid deportation. Saturday he received his social security card, he says it changed his life forever.
"After 20 years of living in the shadows, not being able to do anything, today for the first time, I'm finally receiving my social security card," Rodriguez said in a YouTube video he uploaded for friends.
He says it's modern day civil rights he hopes Congress will help change.
"I basically grew up thinking I was American and I may not be American but I'm American from heart," Rodriguez told KFDM News.
Congressman Steve Stockman of Southeast Texas released a statement saying he could not agree with the senators' proposals.
"I cannot and will not support any immigration reform proposal that institutes an amnesty program or does not begin with a comprehensive plan to secure the borders," Stockman says.
President Obama unveils his immigration reform agenda Tuesday in Las Vegas.