Reporting Steve Pickett
DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The path to a compromised immigration reform bill goes right through North Texas.
There are more than one-point-one million people in Texas without legal status. Demographers estimate 400-thousand of them live in the North Texas area. Rossy Robledo used to be one of them.
Robledo says she came to Texas in 1980 and worked up to four jobs at one time. She knows that quiet, jubilant shouts are coming from the shops and businesses along Dallas’ Jefferson Boulevard, as immigration reform is pushed to the front of the national agenda.
A bipartisan group of senators outlined a plan for citizenship for the roughly 11-million undocumented people living in the U.S.
The group, called the “Gang of 8,” proposed establishing an employment verification system as well as an improved process for admitting immigrants into the U.S.
Some Republicans are already resisting the plan. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas issued the following statement about the proposal:
I appreciate the good work that senators in both parties have put into trying to fix our broken immigration system. There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration. However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.
President Obama is set to unveil his plan on Tuesday.
Former Dallas City Councilman and State Representative Domingo Garcia has led the local fight for thousands of North Texans living here illegally. He welcomed the two-party outline for rebuilding immigration law, and said undocumented workers and their families will not be receiving a free ride to U.S. citizenship.
“In this case, it will be earned legalization,” says Garcia. “They’ll have to pay taxes, get in the back of the line, and learn English.”
Critics have called it amnesty, allowing immigration violators to remain in communities.
Latino community leader Hector Flores says thousands living here have earned a path to citizenship.
“I think Americans want anybody who comes here, who values earned legalization, where you deserve to be a citizen of this country,” Flores says.
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