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Busy Week For Immigrant Rights Activist In San Diego

Evening Edition

Aired 4/10/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Pedro Rios, Director, American Friends Service Committee

Ted Hilton, Founder, Taxpayer Revolution


It's a busy week for immigrant rights activists across the country, from San Diego to Washington D.C. Activists are taking to the streets for the National Day of Action for Immigration Reform Wednesday, as lawmakers are inching closer on an deal to reform America's immigration laws for the first time in decades.

In San Diego, people are rallying at noon outside the office of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to push her to back comprehensive immigration reform.

Also underway: a hunger strike, immigration reform resolutions and a march scheduled for Saturday to cap off an intense week on the immigration front.

"People are coming together to change the U.S immigration laws in ways never before seen," said Pedro Rios, Director of American Friends Service Committee.

Rios has helped organize many of this week's events and also attended Tuesday's San Diego City Council meeting, where the council approved a resolution that supports comprehensive immigration legislation and a pathway to citizenship for people living in the country illegally.

The Public Policy Institute of California estimates there are about 200,000 people living in San Diego County without legal status.

Ted Hilton, founder of Taxpayer Revolution and an advocate for border security, doesn't see eye to eye with Rios. Hilton admits the existing laws are outdated but he favors a piecemeal approach.

"I think you always find a certain number of congressmen who won't vote for something just because of one thing in that bill. And that's what happened in 2007," he said.

Hilton is referencing the year immigration legislation died despite a similar movement and support from then-President George W. Bush.

But Rios believes this time around is different.

"I think that there was a promise that President Obama made when he took office, and that was passing immigration reform. And his first term was up, and now he sees the pressure from immigrant communities," he said.

While there has been progress on the much anticipated bill from the main negotiators known as the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of senators, there's still no word on exactly when the bill will be unveiled.

The bill is expected to include a path to eventual citizenship for the 11 million immigrants who are living in the country illegally, a guest worker program and tighter border security.

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that the deal may also include expanded surveillance of the U.S border with Mexico, provide an electronic exit system at airports and sea ports and call on employers to adopt systems like E-Verify to check workers legal status.

Many now expect the bill to be released next week at the earliest.

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | April 10, 2013 at 3:48 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Illegal immigration has constantly been about extra taxation on the American people, and any overhaul of the policies involved in Comprehensive Immigration Reform is going to cost even more; never was it about a person’s skin color? People coming here without authorization or inspection, has accelerated over the 3 decades. It was a very poor move in the 1986, when amnesty was placed on the table. Then subsequently the passage of the miscalculated 3.5 millions of illegal aliens who were issued a “Green Card”, fled into the towns and cities flooding the job market. It meant great greater profits for corporations and businesses that could hire cheap labor, but it undercut the wages of particularly low income workers. For the first time contractors employed the new arrivals from the farms, who could legally abscond and take jobs elsewhere? Over the years millions more illegal aliens have followed, apart from the first newly legalized immigrants needing jobs. Thousands of honest contractors have been underbid by ruthless contractors using illegal aliens in construction specifically, driving major numbers of small company owners out of business.

And now the likelihood is that another immigration reform bill is on the horizon? Already foreign national numbers are rising outside the border region, since the chances they can also be ‘grandfathered” into the new immigration bill? Illegal immigration has always been like a many branched thing, with roots stretching everywhere in our society. Whether its pregnant females smuggling their unborn babies from Asia, across our International borders or arriving from any other location around the earth, that is costing taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars annually. For those who manage to bluff immigration agents at airline entry check points or just walk, or climb the fence where it even exists, since the 1986 Amnesty has attracted unknown numbers to America and now we have became the world’s Medicaid capitol? THE FENCE ITSELF IS NOT A DETERRENT AS IT WASN’T CONSTRUCTED ACCORDING TO THE 2006 SECURE FENCE BILL? THIS SECURE BARRIER WAS DESIGNED AS TWO FENCES OR EVEN THREE, WITH UGLY RAZOR WIRE ADORNING THE TOP. IT COULDN”T BE DERAILED, SO SEN. KAY BAILY HUTCHINSON OF TEXAS FOUND A WAY TO UNDERFUND IT? ALSO SHOWING THAT MANY ADMINISTRATIONS HAVE REFUSED TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT THE BORDER, OR EVEN PROSECUTE THE ILLEGAL ALIENS WHO ARE FOREVER TEMPTED, BECAUSE SPECIAL INTERESTS DETERMINED TO GET CHEAP LABOR, MANAGED TO REDUCE ANY VIOLATION TO A CIVIL OFFENCE, INSTEAD OF BEING A FELONY. ILLEGAL ENTRY HAS BEEN ONE LIE FROM THE BEGINNING, BECAUSE THE PUPPETS OF BIG BUSINESS WERE BROUGHT AND SOLD AMERICANS CITIZENS.

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Avatar for user 'Brittanicus'

Brittanicus | April 10, 2013 at 3:48 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

We must rethink immigration and stop the poverty of other countries proliferating here, adding to our own demographic areas of impoverished people. To be effective like so many other nations, THE PEOPLE must demand from Congress a National ID card. A free biometric card no matter the cost must be issued? Without showing proof of citizenship or legal residents, illegal immigrants will not be able to seek work? Employers, who overlook this eligibility in hiring, should be prosecuted with loss of business licenses, pay heavy fines and mandatory prison time. The ID biometric card also has addition uses, including the right to vote, buy auto insurance, a weapon for home protection and of course necessary picture ID for credit. Daily--thousands of ordinary Americans have their personal ID stolen and thieves use this intelligence to steal from banks and wreck the person’s good name and assets.

This is a commonsense solution that should be mandatory as the Social Security number has been compromised, and only specialized companies who profit in supervising peoples credit reports. There is so much more involved with the statistics of illegal immigration, so rather than detailing more facts that the Liberal media and special open border interest groups does not want to release, you must judge all the untruths that we have been led to believe? You should just key into any search browser as Google, either American Patrol or NumbersUSA web address to learn facts and extract them from the propaganda mills. At the American Patrol site is a daily outreach of hundreds of unbiased releases of daily news accounts of criminal activity, Congress and reports on what ails this great country. Stuff the liberal media journalists conceal or lie about? There are many more organizations that deem illegal aliens are voting in our elections, that illegal aliens are not paying enough taxes for the amount of money they are taking in welfare. That they are stealing other peoples Social Security Numbers, dead or alive, and gaining work through this illicit means. Additionally you petition Washington free about your anxiety at NumbersUSA and phone your further anger at central government phone connection at (202) 224-3121.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | April 10, 2013 at 9:02 p.m. ― 3 years, 10 months ago

Path to immigration>>> Go home, sign up legally. This is not new, but it is legal. Anything else should be considered a crime. Any politician voting for anything else should be tried for treason.

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