Local leader supports immigration panel is a nationwide coalition pushing for immigration reform. On Friday they will officially launch in Washington state with a panel discussion in Pasco.

Ana Ruiz Peralta said is at the core of bringing people together. She is very involved in the Tri-Cities community.

"I wear different hats in the community," said Ruiz Peralta.

She is an agent with New York Life, the vice chair of Tri-Cities Community Health Clinic, a board member of the Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Pasco Public Market board and a member of Consejo Latino.

The local Consejo Latino group supports the mission of

Ruiz Peralta traveled to Washington D.C. with Consejo Latino to talk to Representative Dan Newhouse about the need for immigration reform, especially for students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

In her many positions in the community, she said she has seen the effects of anti-immigrant sentiments through fear in local schools, businesses and the health industry.   

"I hear constantly from teacher that they're worried for their students. The students cry, they're not performing the way they used to because they have something that is really heavy and worrying them a lot," said Ruiz Peralta.

At the National Conference of Community Health Centers she said every agency around the nation spoke "about the increase in mental health problems due to the instability and insecurity that people are feeling" because of President Donald Trump's immigration orders.

As an agent with New York Life, Ruiz Peralta said "I meet with businesses and when they're planning for their future, now there is uncertainty."

Ruiz Peralta encourages everyone in the community to attend the discussion panel on Friday, April 21.

"You can hear other stories, you can hear the other side and how we all are connected. If you are a business owner, please come join us. If you are a student, if you are a teacher, please join us," she said.

Rep. Newhouse and Benton County interim Sheriff Jerry Hatcher will be part of the panel along with DACA students from as far as Seattle and Wenatchee. 

The event is at Educational Service District 123 in Pasco.

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