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Notes Compared on Immigration Reform

PHOTO: Eugene City Councilor Claire Syrett wants strong worker protections in federal immigration reform.
PHOTO: Eugene City Councilor Claire Syrett wants strong worker protections in federal immigration reform.
April 17, 2013

EUGENE, Ore. - A $2,000 fine and a 13-year process to become a citizen are two details emerging from the federal immigration reform bill being drafted by the so-called Gang of Eight in the U.S. Senate.

The Oregon AFL-CIO, immigration-reform groups and community organizations have put together their own standards, and compared notes at a news conference Tuesday.

The goal should be protecting the rights of all workers, said Eugene City Councilor Claire Syrett, and immigrant communities often endure mistreatment in silence.

"Bringing workers out of the shadows and into the mainstream," she said, "where they will be able to speak up for themselves and enjoy the benefits that documented American workers get to enjoy right now."

The Gang of Eight plan is being criticized by immigrant-rights groups for vagueness that delays the pathway to citizenship based on "securing" the U.S. border with Mexico. The plan is being applauded for allowing provisional status for most undocumented immigrants as soon as six months after the bill would be signed.

Juan Carlos Valle, president of the Oregon chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, said citizenship should not be an easy pathway, but it does need to be practical and efficient.

"We believe that a package that will reduce the backlog of individuals seeking residency or citizenship is also very, very important," he said.

The groups also are looking for details on family reunification, Valle said. The groups unveiled their set of standards in front of U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio's office in Eugene.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - OR