Immigration reform, immigrants react to proposal
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama will try to rally public support behind his proposals to overhaul immigration in the U.S. Obama is launching his push today in Las Vegas, a day after leading Republican and Democratic senators laid the foundation for their own plan. Immigration advocates say they expect Obama's plan to include a faster pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
Folks in the D.C. area have split opinions on the Senators' proposal.
"It just shows that they're listening to us," said Veronica Savaria of Beltsville, Maryland.
Savaria was brought to the U.S. illegally when she was just 10. She says thanks to an enforcement decision made by the Obama administration last year, she doesn't fear deportation like she used to. But she still fears it strongly for her mother.
"It's just something that we live with everyday," she said.
Savaria says she wants to be a nurse, while her mother, who only received a 3rd grade education in El Salvador, dreams of going to school.
"America is portrayed as the country of opportunity, and that's all we're looking for," Savaria said. "And we're not trying to get in front of the line, we're just trying to get the same chance as everybody else."
But some say giving illegal immigrants a chance to become citizens would cost taxpayers a lot in services. And they question whether it's fair.
"It makes everybody who played by the rules and waited to come to the United States and followed the procedures look like a fool for having actually believed in the rule of law," said Steven Camarota, director of research for the DC-based Center for Immigration Studies.
Camarota says the bill contains a lot of elements, like a crackdown on employers who hire illegal immigrants, that have been passed before but not enforced.
"This legislation says, 'no, this time, it will be enforced.' There's no reason to believe that," he said.