Vasant Shetty, 59: Hope and hard work
In India, Shetty says he never could have imagined starting his own business or sending his two children to college. In the United States, he has done both of those things. On Monday, Shetty was answering phones at the front desk of his motel in central Arizona. When he bought it, he said the property was in shambles. He then renovated it into a place he's proud to own.
"I came to this country with lots of hope, almost 15 years ago. It was very hard," he says. "Today I have two motels. I never used any shortcuts. It was all hard work, all the time."
As President Barack Obama prepared to deliver an immigration reform speech in Nevada on Tuesday, Shetty braced himself to appear in an Arizona immigration court. There, a judge may decide whether he should be deported.
Immigrant rights activists have asked federal officials to drop their case against him, arguing that deporting him would unjustly separate his family and unfairly punish someone with no criminal history.
Despite his personal battles with the U.S. immigration system, talk about immigration reform makes Shetty feel optimistic. Time and time again, he says, America has shown him kindness and opportunity.
"I believe this country has a lot of good people," he says. "There is a way. They will do something good."
Mario, 33: Faith and fear
Mario lives in constant fear of being picked up by the police.
"Just to come here, I have to think," he says, weighing whether the trip was worth the risk.
"Here" in his case is Plaza Fiesta, a mall in Atlanta that caters to immigrants. As he spoke Monday, TVs showed senators announcing their plan for reform. No one paid attention to the screens, which could barely be heard over the noise of the food court and nearby arcade games.
Mario has lived in the United States for 13 years. He moved from the capital of Mexico. He cleans offices for a living and says he would like to see some sort of change so that he could find better work, maybe buy a car or a house.
Mostly though, he wants reform so he could feel free, free of fear.
"I still have faith," he says. "Who knows when? Maybe it won't happen tomorrow or the day after, but sometime ... Faith never dies."