El Pasoans react to proposed immigration reform plan

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 12:06am

A bipartisan piece of legislation being proposed on immigration could be welcomed news for millions working in the shadows in the United States. Many families here in the borderland will be impacted by immigration reform.

"I think everybody should be let or given the opportunity to be able to be legally in this country," said Teresa Nevarez.

Nevarez and her four children live in Anthony, New Mexico but her husband is in Juarez and unable to be with his family.

"It's been kinda difficult especially for the two little ones because they were the ones that were more attached to him and sometimes my daughter doesn't want to talk to him on the phone when he calls because she just wants to block it out so it's hard," said Nevarez.

Nevarez said authorities detained her husband for trying to illegally cross the border.

She said the immigration plan would make it difficult for her husband to get a United States citizenship.

"But all those little nick-knacks that they're throwing in. ‘Well if you want this, we're gonna have to get this in return and I think that's unfair," said Nevarez.

Senators are calling it a tough but fair path to citizenship. It would require immigrants to pass criminal background checks, speak English and pay back taxes.

"I think it's going to be very difficult to enforce this. The devil is always in the details. The question is going to be how far back will these immigrants have to pay their taxes."

El Paso Border Network for Human Rights leaders said this is a step forward in addressing the core issue of immigration reform, but many of the proposals are problematic. One being that the border must be secure before people can get their citizenship.

"They are using this argument that we cannot move with citizenship and legalization until the border is under control so I think that is very...that is an unfounded argument and they are playing politically with it," said Executive Director Fernando Garcia.

Families are now waiting to see what President Obama will say when he lays out his immigration reform plan on Tuesday.

"This is what we woke up to this morning, and we'll see what turns out tomorrow and hopefully it will be something better… something more fair and just."
The lawmakers hope the bill will pass the Senate by late Spring or Summer. Then it's on to the more conservative house.

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