A crowd of about 40 people from area churches, unions and Democratic groups enthusiastically greeted a national tour of nuns advocating immigration reform in Modesto on Monday morning.
The "Nuns on the Bus," a group of Catholic sisters that started out May 28 in Connecticut, will finish its tour today in San Francisco.
Monday, the tour stopped at the Salida office of Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock.
The nuns want elected officials to support immigration reform to make it easier for families to earn citizenship.
Sister Simone Campbell, speaking to the crowd, said the meeting with Denham's representative the congressman was not in his office went well, and staff members pledged his support for immigration reform.
"We rejoice in that perception," Campbell said.
Also speaking was Areli Garcia, an immigrant affected by the Dream Act, which delays action against illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children and are pursuing jobs or education.
She said she spoke to Denham's office about "what it means to be a dreamer." But she pointed out that it's just the first step and that action is only delayed for two years.
"We need immigration reform for these people, who are here helping this country," Garcia said.
The nuns appealed to the crowd to call and write to legislators who are both for and against immigration reform.
They said they have been pleased with the response they've gotten so far and are hopeful that both houses of Congress can agree on significant change this year.
"We're on a roll," Campbell said, "with miracles happening at every moment."
Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.