Yuma legislators weigh in on immigration reform
Yuma's state legislators have mixed thoughts on the immigration reform plans unveiled this week by President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators.
Sen. Lynne Pancrazi said it's early in the process, but that both Republican and Democrat leaders are working together is “absolutely wonderful. It's something we've needed for a long time.”
The Yuma Democrat said the opportunity for undocumented immigrants already here to eventually become citizens is the most significant part of the proposed reforms. She said that's a “pathway to citizenship,” not amnesty.
Pancrazi was also pleased with the possibility of finally alleviating agricultural leaders' concerns about finding labor.
“This will help secure our border, I think, in a roundabout way,” she said.
Rep. Juan Carlos Escamilla said that by any name — either pathway to citizenship, amnesty or earned legal status — the opportunity to be in the United States lawfully needs to be tackled.
“Whatever you call it, there needs to be some kind of streamline. The reality is, it is a problem that needs to be addressed.”
Escamilla, a Democrat, said people are ready for meaningful movement on immigration reform, not another four years of discussions.
“I really think this is a year that they will take action,” he said.
Republican Sen. Don Shooter took a measured tone.
“Don't watch what the president says. Watch what the president does,” he said, referencing the impending retirement of the tethered aerostat radar blimps along the border.
He said border security is one improvement that people could agree upon, however.
“I don't know of anybody in Yuma that would be against securing the border. The farmers that I know of all want secured borders.”
Shooter said border security and immigration, however, are often combined when they should be treated separately. And if lawmakers cannot even define a problem, he said, they can't solve it.
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