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Senate releases immigration reform proposal

Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 12:05am

Lawmakers are one step closer to overhauling the nation's immigration system. A group called the “gang of eight” filed an 844 page bill on the Senate floor today.

Eleven million people live in the United States illegally, and after today they're one step closer to becoming legal under a few conditions:

-If they've been here since before January 1st of 2012.
-Have no felony convictions.
-Havent voted illegally.

Lawmakers are proposing changes that give people the chance to apply for a green card after 10 years and citizenship three years after that.

Locally, the proposal's getting mixed reaction.

"Glad that there is a bipartisan effort to make sure that this is the year of immigration reform," said Jose Escobedo, with the Border Network of Human Rights.

But Escobedo says the bill still needs work because it provides billions of dollars for border security.

"The border has never been as secure as it is. Right now we need to take a step back approach from more technology, national guard, more walls," said Escobedo.

Congressman Beto O'rourke agrees. He believes that money should go to the ports of entry.

"To process trade, people and goods who want to securely and legitimately,but effectively and efficiently, cross our ports of entry and create jobs," said O'Rourke.

Another positive for BNHR is the border task force.

"To make sure that we have some system of accountability oversight where the border communities are keeping an eye on the way these dollars are spent and the impact that these programs are having on border communities," said Escobedo.

Congressman O'rourke likes the idea of providing high skilled visas, to help promote job growth.

"To attract the best and brightest around the world," said O'Rourke.

But a negative is the fee for those applying for citizenship.

"Thats a lot of money for anybody, especially a lot of money for someone who's been working and living in the shadows," said O'Rourke.

Overall, he feels it's a step in the right direction.

"Ultimately it helps us fix a system thats been broken for decades," said O'Rourke.



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