- Immigration reform proposals have sparked nationwide debate
- A bipartisan group of senators has proposed one plan
- President Barack Obama is unveiling his plan Tuesday
The sudden momentum toward a bipartisan plan to reform the U.S. immigration system has sparked a torrent of discussion about this politically charged and emotional issue. Here's a sampling of voices from across the spectrum of viewpoints:
"Anything other than having these people going home and apply through our regular immigration system that successfully admits over 1 million people every year is amnesty," said a CNN commenter using the screen name ninesixteen. "Allowing them to wait in the U.S. is a reward. Our immigration is deliberately constructed to not let in unlimited numbers. These people violate our laws yet expect to be allowed to stay and work when others wait patiently in their countries. Legalization is wrong."
"Illegal immigration has already put massive and unaffordable burdens on the welfare state and with 20 million or more applying for Amnesty, this will simply accelerate this process," said Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, who argues that the real number of undocumented immigrants in the United States is higher than the frequently cited 11 million figure.
"I'm a liberal democrat but here's the problem with this law," said a CNN commenter going by the screen name Riprod. "Legalize them and now they have to pay taxes, SS (Social Security), get minimum wages, union participation etc. Now they are no longer economically employable by farmers, construction, landscapers and hotels, hotel workers, etc. So we are left with 11 million more on welfare while these companies search outside our border for more workers. No, I'm totally against this, they're illegal, arrest them and kick them out. Secondly, it took me 20 years and about $40,000 to get my citizenship legally and I feel cheated when I see this."
"They need to make them do things the right way. Spend the thousands of dollars to file that paperwork properly. Make sure all the criteria is met. Put them through the ringer like they do anyone else who applies for Residence in the United States," CNN comenter Melissa Bickers said.
"First fix the border. Then make e-verify federal law, and enforced. After that is done, I will welcome the 11 million illegal immigrants," CNN commenter "David" said.
"What I am asking for is that President Obama consider every category of immigrant as he moves forward with immigration reform. I have to say, it irks me a bit when I hear that illegal immigrants will not be deported when I have waited for months and spent thousands of dollars to do it 'the right way,' " said CNN iReporter Julie Richard, a Canadian who married an American but said she wasn't allowed back in the country after a visit home with the couple's infant daughter. The couple has had to spend seven months apart, she said, while sorting through immigration issues.
"It is vital that the framework includes a path to citizenship, so that undocumented immigrants can come out of the shadows and into the light and have a chance to become Americans. It gives hope to millions of our fellow human beings," Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Migration.