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L.A. Now Live: Activists hopeful about Senate immigration bill

April 17, 2013|By Joseph Serna
  • Saira Barajas, 21, left, with her mother, Maria Galvan, 43, at the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles to discuss the impact of immigration reforms on immigrant families.
Saira Barajas, 21, left, with her mother, Maria Galvan, 43, at the Coalition… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

Details of the long-awaited Senate immigration proposal began to circulate Tuesday. Immigrant-rights advocates said they were pleased that a legalization measure was on the table, but they expressed concern about the specifics, including long waits to achieve legal status and a requirement that border security goals be met first.

Join us at 9 a.m. as we discuss the bill and how the Los Angeles community is reacting to it when we chat with Times reporter Cindy Chang.

If the final bill contains a legalization component, life could be transformed for the estimated 11 million immigrants in the country without proper papers, one in four of whom lives in California.

Following a mass legalization in 1986, many immigrants were able to land better jobs and increase their earnings. They got driver's licenses and could live without the fear of being deported and separated from their families. 

For opponents of increased immigration, Social Security numbers for millions of unauthorized immigrants, along with a dramatic increase in work visas proposed by the Senate bill, would create too much competition for jobs. Conservative lawmakers will feel pressure to make the path to citizenship more difficult.

"When we have massive unemployment in the U.S., I don't think we need to be increasing immigration and bringing in people to take jobs when there are American citizens and legal immigrants who need jobs," said Ric Oberlink, a spokesman for Californians for Population Stabilization.

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