Immigration Bill May Not Be Everything You Think It Is, Activists Warn

Jun. 28, 2013 / By

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New America Media, News Report, Valeria Fernández

PHOENIX — Maricela De Jesus has renewed hope that passage of an immigration bill in the Senate will finally allow her and her husband to step out of the shadows, after 13 years of living in the United States without legal documents.

“It would help me go back to Mexico and see my family,” said De Jesus. “My father died, and I couldn’t go back to see him.”

Senate passage of the immigration reform bill, S. 744, brought tears, joy and hope to thousands of immigrant families in Arizona and millions across the nation. Yet, as it heads for a debate in the House of Representatives, S. 744 may not be the saving grace that many undocumented immigrants like De Jesus believe it to be.

Despite the bill’s strong emphasis on border security, a number of pro-immigrant groups nationally have been urging people to throw their support behind the bipartisan bill. For some, the expansion of border enforcement activity is a bitter pill to swallow, in exchange for a path to citizenship for some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants estimated to be living in the United States.

But, a number of other pro-immigrant groups have come out strongly against S. 744, citing a lack of analysis and honesty on the part of advocacy groups, politicians and the media, in the way the content of the bill is being portrayed to the immigrant community.

“Are people saying, ‘Sí, se puede’ to 700 miles of border fence, 20,000 more border troops, citizenship that is going to be denied to millions? Yes,” said Roberto Lovato, founding member of Presente.org, a pro-immigrant group. “Do people know this? The answer is no.”

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