President's speech prompts Sacramento rally for immigration reform

11:46 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

SACRAMENTO, CA - Speaking in Las Vegas, President Obama supported many of the principals ideas outlined Monday by a bipartisan group of senators.

Both plans offer a path to citizenship for the 11-million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. Under the senate plan, it would take up to 15 years. 

Under the president's plan, it could happen sooner. Both plans call for temporary worker status for undocumented immigrants, and after they pay fines and back taxes and speak English, they can start on the path to permanent residency.

"It won't be a quick process, but it will be a fair process and it will lift these individuals out of the shadows and give them a chance to earn their way to a green card and eventually to citizenship," President Obama said.

The proposals drew a quick response from local leaders, but not everyone is on board with the changes. 

A recent ABC News poll showed more than 6 in 10 Americans now favor allowing illegal immigrants to eventually become US citizens, so there's growing support for the idea but still plenty of opposition to it.

President Obama's call for reform echoed outside Sacramento's Federal Courthouse, some clergy, labor, and immigration leaders saying it's time many undocumented immigrants are granted temporary worker status.

"They made a call, text messages, everyone came out because it's so important to so many communities," Council on American-Islamic Relations Executive Director Basim Elkarra said.

Many feel the country is more eager than ever for reform.

"This is the time. If we don't do it now, if we don't do it right now, this issue will not get resolved, and this is I think our best chance, this is our best chance that we've ever had to push something comprehensive forward," Elkarra said.

However many don't agree. Some viewer response to a story on News10 Monday night shows how divided the country has been on immigration.

After News10 profiled undocumented worker Leticia Aceves and her hope for a path to citizenship, we got several comments from viewers through email and social media.

"I'm really tired of seeing news stories about illegals whining about not having legal immigration status," one viewer wrote, "they broke the law and get rewarded for it."

Gabriel Vargas wrote on our Facebook page, "Break into my country and be rewarded with citizenship. What a slap in the face to the honest immigrant."

However this time around, even some politicians who opposed immigration reform are showing a willingness to embrace some changes.

"I think that they are realizing that the face of America is changing, and if they want to stay relevant to America, they have to change also," Service Employees International Union president Yvonne Walker said.

No doubt many lawmakers are considering what a vote for immigration reform might do to their chance of keeping their seat the next election. 

Some viewers wrote us saying they won't vote for any person who promotes comprehensive change. 

However, many have noted that President Obama's choice to make his speech in Nevada draws attention to the surge in support among Hispanic voters in that state that helped the president win Nevada in the presidential election.

News10/KXTV

Most Watched Videos