Updated 01/29/2013 07:08 AM
Congress proposes bipartisan immigration reform bill
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RALEIGH -- A bipartisan group of U.S. senators presented a proposal for immigration reform. Advocates on both sides of the issue here in North Carolina said there is work to be done on the plan.
North Carolina has been struggling on how to handle immigration reform issues in the Tar Heel State. A legislative committee recently looked for answers, but came away with few.
“The biggest problem that we have is the federal government not doing its job,” Rep. Frank Iler, a Brunswick County Republican, said back in December.
Now, some federal lawmakers are working to correct that. On Monday, four Republican and four Democratic senators put forward a proposal on federal immigration reform.
“And I think today's an important first step, in what's going to be complicated journey,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican. “Because the issue of immigration is not a simple one, but I think we have an opportunity to do it right and if we do I think we'll do a tremendous service to our country and to its future.”
The plan has four basic areas:
- Creating a path to citizenship for currently unauthorized immigrants
- Reforming the legal immigration system
- Creating an effective employment verification system
- Establishing a plan to meet workforce demands
For supporters of immigration reform, they said this blueprint is a step in the right direction but still needs work, especially in how it would offer a chance at citizenship.
“Even if they pass this tomorrow,” said Kate Woomer-Deters, with the N.C. Justice Center, “the path to citizenship still could be over 20 years for people under this proposal.”
Others are also troubled by the amnesty provision, but for different reasons.
“We believe in immigration reform,” said Ron Woodard with N.C. Listen. “But we have tried amnesty so many times and it doesn't really work. That what we need to do is try real enforcement first.”
This proposal is still in its beginning phases, and has not been presented to Congress for consideration.