Waiting for the pathway to citizenship to emerge

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by ANGELA KOCHERGA

WFAA

Posted on June 30, 2013 at 9:53 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 30 at 9:53 PM

EL PASO — The landmark immigration bill passed by the Senate gives an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship. Many now live in fear they could be deported.

Nohemi Machado is an El Paso mom who is hopeful she'll qualify if the bill makes it through the House.

"It's important, because I have all my family here," she said.

That family includes her six-year-old daughter who's helping mom rehearse. Machado is getting ready to offer her first Zumba class for kids this summer.

She was just 14 years old when her parents brought her to the U.S. Now a mother of two girls, Machado worries about being deported.

"I feel nervous that one day they come take us and I leave my daughters here," she said.

Machado's daughters are U.S. citizens, and her husband is a legal resident. He got a job opportunity in San Antonio, but she couldn't follow him there.

"I don't have papers to go," she explained.

Machado fears she could be detained at one of the Border Patrol's highway checkpoints if she attempts the journey.

The new immigration bill lays out a 13-year plan for those without papers to become citizens. That path to citizenship is tied to more security along the border, including additional fencing and a doubling of the Border Patrol.

Opponents in the House could still derail the bill altogether. Even so, immigrants like Machado remain hopeful they will be allowed to remain in the U.S.

"It's a good opportunity to show everyone what we can do here," she said.

E-mail akocherga@belo.com

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