Apr 22, 2013 4:25 PM by Heather Jackson - email@example.com
CORPUS CHRISTI - Many in the Coastal Bend know someone who was not born in this country; some are now citizens, others want to be. They include people who work for a hard for their living, serve in the U.S. Military, and attend local schools.
All factors that make a proposed immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate important to those who came here seeking a better life. The problem is, the new legislation is 844 pages long and complicated.
The controversial proposal from the 'Gang of Eight' senators would give citizenship to an estimate 11 million of people who have already been in the U.S. for years.
"In a nutshell it gives protection, it gives economic stability, it gives security in the sense that people aren't living in the shadows," says immigration attorney Heather Moretzsohn.
"I was born and raised of course in Mexico until the age of 14. Then I moved to Colorado and I have lived here since then. Well, I went from Colorado to Corpus 13 years ago," says Isabel Gonzales, a Refugee Cash Assistants Coordinator.
Although Gonzales just recently she gained her citizenship, moving here was not her decision.
"My mom wanted to be with her family, and most of my uncles and aunts were in Colorado. So, she just wanted to be with the family so we moved because of that," says Gonzales.
An uncle sponsored the family to come to the United States. That process would be eliminated under the current proposal before the senate.
"They're going to focus more on the immediate relative status basically spouse, or child, or parent," says Moretzsohn.
The bill applies to people who arrived in the U.S. before December 2011. It would allow those impacted to work here legally six months after the bill becomes law, as long as they pay a $500 fee, any back taxes, and can prove they have not been convicted of a crime.
After ten years they could apply for a green card or permanent resident status. Employers would be required to register all immigrant workers to ensure they are able to legally work in the U.S.
Anyone who arrived in the country illegally after January 1, 2012 is not covered by the measure and faces deportation.
To read the full 844 page bill in it's entirety, visit Sen. Chuck Schumers website - http://1.usa.gov/13f0lmA