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Supervisors Back Immigration Reform Plan Proposed by U.S. Senators

Riverside County supervisors compromise in order to approve resolution in support of "Comprehensive Immigration Reform," a proposal by eight U.S. senators.

After hearing passionate appeals on both sides, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday endorsed a "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" framework proposed by eight U.S. lawmakers.

"This is a bipartisan effort. It lays out a tough but fair roadmap to citizenship," said Supervisor Marion Ashley, who joined Chairman John Benoit in introducing a resolution calling for support of legislation being drawn up by Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John McCain, R-Ariz., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

The so-called "Gang of Eight" are drafting an immigration reform plan based on a set of legislative "pillars" specifying how illegal immigrants can gain citizenship and what must be done to fortify the nation's immigration policies.

The plan's general provisions seek to ease requirements for undocumented minors to be granted citizenship; mandate that adults seeking citizenship register with the government and undergo background checks before their applications can be considered; and allow employers to "hire immigrants if it can be demonstrated that they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position."

The senators also state their desire to strengthen border security and implement a national system by which all job applicants are screened to confirm they're eligible to work in the U.S.

Around 20 people on both sides of immigration reform addressed the board. Most of those in favor of Ashley's and Benoit's resolution spoke only Spanish and were affiliated with immigrants' rights organizations in the Coachella Valley and Perris.

"You cannot ignore millions of people living in the U.S. We work in the fields, picking everything. We work in construction, factories. Who takes these jobs? Only our people. Support the reform," Antonio Ayala of Perris told the board.

"A lot of the kids would make good citizens," said Josephine Lopez. "Please support this."

Raymond Herrera of Riverside lambasted Ashley and Benoit, accusing them of catering to the illegal immigrant lobby -- to the detriment of natural-born citizens.

"Deport anybody who is here illegally," Herrera said. "You're saying it's OK to displace my American children. It's not your job being given away. It's time to uphold the Constitution, not subvert it."

A woman identified as Robin said the supervisors' resolution promoted amnesty.

"We want our laws enforced," she said. "We don't need comprehensive immigration reform. We need comprehensive immigration enforcement. Our laws should be upheld and respected."

Benoit called the senators' proposal an "equitable resolution to a longstanding problem," while Ashley acknowledged it was a compromise not everybody would be happy with, but was still "the best chance for realizing change."

Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and Jeff Stone expressed strong reservations but agreed to back the resolution as long as there were amendments to it that reflected their concerns.

Stone's amendment, which the entire board accepted, read: "The county supports humane pathways to citizenship, but we call upon Congress to fully fund local governments' unfunded programs that provide services for undocumented immigrants in our jails, who are receiving healthcare and unemployment benefits, food stamps, educational benefits, etc."

The board also added Jeffries' amendment to the resolution, emphasizing the county's preference for criminal background checks on all illegal immigrants applying for citizenship and the nationwide use of E-Verify, a federal Internet-based program that relies on Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to determine whether a prospective employee is documented.

—City News Service

DB March 01, 2013 at 12:02 AM
Shane, I hate to say it, but they can make all the changes in the world, these people will NEVER have the same rights and privileges as I have. Right off the bat, they (as well as you) will NEVER qualify for Veteran benefits. My company is awarded DoD contracts because I am a Vet. They will never get the same job offers as I have, they will NEVER make the same money I make for the same job. If you think they will, ask your local women in business if she makes the same money as I do for the same job, ask a black person if they have the same opportunity as I have.....Ask any Hispanic person here legally with an accent if they have the same opportunity as I have? The answer will be NO across the board. I have made my business a place that non-English speaking people not only cannot work (if you do not speak my native language, you will not make it past the phone interview process with HR), they would not want to because nobody will speak to them in their native tongue because they would be fired if they do and they would not understand how to do their jobs because I document nothing in foreign languages, nor do I employee interpreters. There is your equal rights for criminals at work and in full legal practice, compliant with the DoD contract requirements. That is the reform this country needs. If they do not like it, then do not come here just as I would not live in their Country.
One Voice March 01, 2013 at 06:22 PM
DB: your post on Feb 28, @8PM, Thursday is well said and thank you, I being a business owner feel the same way and conduct my business the same. This is how everyone that is an American business owner building American made product shoul operate :)
TVOR March 06, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Amnesty is not immigration reform. It is a slap in the face of those people from other countries who go through the LEGAL process to immigrate here.

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