Local immigration players await reform proposal - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Local immigration players await reform proposal

PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Senators soon hope to finish drafting a sweeping immigration bill this week. Big changes may be coming to our state, including more surveillance on the border and harsher penalties for those who cross the border illegally.

The attitude on immigration seems to be shifting, with many political leaders on both sides of the aisle agreeing that reform is necessary. But, not surprisingly, not everyone agrees on the details.

As thousands march across the country, local immigration activists call for change.

"What's going to happen to all the people detained in Arizona due to our state laws?" asked journalist and filmmaker Valeria Fernandez.

The so-called "gang of eight," a group of bipartisan senators, including Arizona senators Jeff Flake and John McCain, are also busy completing an immigration reform bill.

"There will be a great deal of unhappiness about this proposal because everybody didn't get what they wanted," McCain said Sunday on the CBS show Face the Nation.

The plan may allow tens of thousands of immigrant workers to come to the U.S. for construction, hotel and restaurant jobs. There are rumblings that it is also expected to call for a 13-year path to citizenship and more border security.

"How are we guaranteeing the border is secured?" asked Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. He said he'll be traveling to Washington next week to talk about this issue. He believes in a 10-point security plan, which includes sending 6,000 armed soldiers to the border and completing the fence, to the tune of $3.1 billion.

"You need uniform enforcement of the law across all nine sectors of the border, from California to Texas," Babeu said.

"Let's humanize this issue. Let's put people at the heart," Fernandez said.

Former Arizona Gov. and Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will also be testifying on immigration reform one week from today before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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