POSTED: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 6:43pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:25pm
El Paso - - President Obama wants immigration reform before the end of the year and El Paso Congressman Silvestre Reyes is helping him accomplish that.
"All of the provisions included in this bill may not be universally popular but they are intended to make sure it is a balanced piece of legislation."
Speaking by telephone from Washington, Congressman Silvestre Reyes says his comprehensive immigration bill fixes broken immigration laws, steps up border enforcement and promotes legal immigration.
The bill contains tough new legalization requirements. Among them: All undocumented people must register with the U.S. government, pay a $500 fine, pass a background check, pay back taxes, learn English and enter a six year probationary period that allows them to work and travel legally. After that, they may apply for a visa and green card status
Reyes says the bill is about national security...
"We have the equivalent of a shadow world in the united state of some 9 to 12 million people and those that are coming into this country to hurt us can move freely in this shadow world."
In addition to the rules imposed on illegal immigrants, the bill includes $5 billion for modernizing ports of entry and hiring 1,000 new CBP officers each year to better monitor who is coming into the country.
"We have an opportunity because of national security to address one of the most important security issues when it comes to identifying those who are in this country right now with the intention of hurting us."
Congressman Reyes believes it will be a long fight to get this reform passed but believes it will be approved because of pressing national security issues.