New Leaked Immigration Proposal Creates Controversy

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By Ashley Thompson

Over the weekend, President Obama's new immigration plan leaked to the press. In three separate draft bills, he outlines what could happen if lawmakers in Washington can't collectively come up with sensible reform.

Undocumented immigrants could become legal citizens within eight years under recently leaked legislation. The new path to citizenship would require illegal immigrants to go "to the back of the line," behind those who've applied for citizenship legally. All Immigrants would also have to pay taxes and pass background checks.

Montgomery Representative Jay Love says that although he does believe the current pathway to citizenship has its flaws, he isn't ready to jump on board the President's new plan.

"Anybody that wants to come to this country, there is path to become a citizen," he says. "And it's very orderly and it needs to be. We need to know who's coming here, why they want to be here and if they're a criminal back in their own country, we certainly don't want to bring those problems into our country."

But Jennifer Brooks, who is a member of the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice says becoming a legal resident is more difficult than people think.

"They don't understand how difficult it is to get citizenship in the United States and that it depends on who you are and what you're resources are."

Brooks says even if the new legislation becomes law, not everyone will follow suit. She cites Alabama's HB 56, one of the strictest immigration bills in the country.

"Even with the Alabama law, there's diversity in terms of how it's enforced across the state," says Brooks.

Others believe that if the leaked proposal becomes the new norm, it could only benefit the United States. John Mixon supports the new legislation, saying "A lot of these people, when they graduate from college they actually create jobs themselves. You've got to understand we were all immigrants at one time."

Alabama's HB 56 immigration bill was signed into law in June of 2011 by Governor Robert Bentley but the Obama Administration has stopped many parts of the law from being enforced.

 

There are currently an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

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