Immigration Reform: NY Reacts

Jan 28, 2013

Bronx NY Assemblyman Felix Ortiz

Supporters of Immigration reform have generally favorable reactions to a a bipartisan national immigration reform plan outlined today. 

The deal announced today covers border security, "guest workers" and employer verification, as well as a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in this country.

Inez Hernandez with Latino advocacy group Centro Civico in Amsterdam explains many "undocumented" immigrants just want to make better lives for themselves and their families.

The head of the AFL-CIO is questioning a proposal that would require illegal immigrants to provide proof of employment before they can gain legal status. Richard Trumka says it could exclude millions of workers who can't provide proof, because they've been forced to work "off the clock" or they are independent contractors.

Inez Hernandez says the work permit is a much-coveted piece of paper.  The plan includes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are already in the United States. Clarissa Martinez of the National Council of La Raza warns the path must be one that is workable. She says it can't be "so rigorous that those seeking to apply would not be able to get there."

Empire Justice Center President and CEO Anne Erickson is cautiously optimistic.  The American Civil Liberties Union is taking issue with a proposal to require employers to use an electronic system to verify employment. The ACLU calls it a "thinly-disguised national ID requirement."

New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz understands the objections but expects concessions from all sides as a final agreement takes shape.   Officials say that although much remains to be negotiated and success is far from certain, the development heralds the start of what could be the most significant effort in years toward overhauling the nation’s inefficient patchwork of immigration laws.