WACO, Texas — Roughly 200 people from all across the country met in Washington D.C. last week to attend a National Immigration Forum and to advocate for bipartisan legislation to protect DACA recipients or Dreamers.
Among them was Kathryn Freeman from Waco.
"I am very passionate about immigration reform," she told 25 News after returning. "I think because I live in Texas and have seen kind of firsthand the effects of congressional gridlock in our day to day lives and the cost of food because farmers aren't able to hire the workers they need."
Freeman joined 30 fellow Texans to talk with staffers for senators Cruz and Cornyn to urge them to consider a bipartisan approach to protecting dreamers.
"I was really encouraged by the visit," she said. "It seems to be an issue that's top of mind for Senator Cornyn and he is committed to working with Senator Durbin to find some kind of solution that maybe will be presentable to both parties and can get enough votes."
Some lawmakers like Illinois Senator Dick Durbin say there's still time before the end of the year. He's now encouraging his Republican colleagues to make "Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals" into law.
"We need 10 republicans to step up and join us in this effort," Sen. Durbin said. "I can think of 4 or 5 while I stand here, but we need more. We've got an opportunity. That opportunity is the month of December."
Many republicans are asking why now? DACA started under the Obama Administration a decade ago. Now, 10 years later, immigration is at a record high.
"First thing you'll see is a bill to control the border first," Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R) California said recently in a CNN interview. "You've got to get control over the border. We've had almost 2 million people just this year alone coming across."
While advocates like Kathryn Freeman say securing the border is important, she says protecting DACA should also be priority for lawmakers
"The majority of Texas wants both border security and immigration reform," she said. "They don't feel like it's a choice of either/or. We can have both and that's the voice I wanted to represent when I went to DC."
Freeman plans to continue to work with elected officials to find a solution and encourages others passionate about this to do the same.