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San Diegans Rally For Immigration Reform

— As President Barack Obama begins his second term, immigrant rights activists are looking to capitalize on his more liberal agenda. At a rally in San Diego, Democratic Mayor Bob Filner said we have to change the way we think about the border.

Aired 1/22/13 on KPBS News.

Immigrant rights activists in San Diego rallied today in support of a federal immigration overhaul.

San Diego Mayor Bob FIlner address a crowd of Immigrant rights activists on Jan. 22, 2013.

"We want to look at the border as the center," he said, "and not the cul-de-sac of our community."

Filner, who represented San Diego's South Bay communities in the House of Representatives for 20 years, said no single component of immigration reform will get passed by Congress. Filner said the key to reforming the country’s immigration policy is taking a comprehensive approach.

"Comprehensive means looking at enforcement, it means looking at legalization in a much different way," he said. "It means (giving) people the opportunity to work."

Filner plans to open an office in Tijuana in February.

Activists say they’re working with the Senate on federal reform. Christian Ramirez, of a group called Alliance San Diego, said the legislation should include a pathway to citizenship, accountability for border enforcement agencies and labor protections for migrant workers and their families.

"All people in the U.S. should be able to live with dignity and respect regardless of their immigration status," he said. He was flanked by banners that read: "No human being is illegal'' and "Control the Border Patrol.''

"Yesterday, President Obama spoke about the need for immigration reform and today we know that as immigrants in this country, we cannot do it alone,'' Ramirez said. "It takes a broad coalition of elected officials, labor leaders, faith leaders to come together and to ensure that our country affords all people the rights and the dignity that a democratic society is built upon.''

Ramirez said his organization and similar groups have been discussing the issue with senators and would soon turn their attention toward members of the House of Representatives, including newly seated San Diego Democratic representatives Scott Peters and Juan Vargas.

He said the activists have been told that they will need support from local leaders if an immigration bill is to pass Congress.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | January 22, 2013 at 10:53 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

So, Mayor Filner, why did you as a congressman stand side-by-side with Congressman Hunter last year?

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Avatar for user 'ucaiko'

ucaiko | January 23, 2013 at 11:49 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

My wife is here on a J visa. When she finishes her residency/fellowship she must return to her home country for two years as being married to a US citizen does not free her from this obligation. Just like all the undocumented immigrants, my wife would also like to stay here. The only difference is that we've done everything that was required by immigration, paid all the necessary fees and haven't broken any laws.
So why should undocumented immigrants be allowed to stay as part of an amnesty, yet my wife must go back to her country, no exceptions?

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | January 23, 2013 at 3:33 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago


Good for you and your wife! She will be warmly welcomed back to America as a citizen!

Some lowly pandering people (like Bob Filner) forget that there are millions of good people waiting in line to become legal citizens.

Every illegal alien allowed to stay is a slap in the face to those honorable people who pay the fees, fill out the forms, and wait in line.

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Avatar for user 'jskdn'

jskdn | January 23, 2013 at 4:09 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

How about "journalists" start calling it legislation instead of 'reform'? Assigning some legislation the name "reform" implies some conclusion about what's wrong and what would make it better, which is the definition of the word. I could craft comprehensive legislation that didn't reward illegal immigration, brought it under control and didn't give business access to a never-ending cheap pool of labor to undermine the economic prospects of so many working people in this country. (That assumes we could begin to have a government that was willing to enforce the law.) There are plenty of people in this country that would consider that "reform", even if none of them are in the news media. What the news media wants to call "reform" is, first and foremost, massively rewarding illegal immigration, Those wanting that have to, out of political necessity, promise that they will begin to act differently than they have persistently acted over the last quarter century. But letting the people responsible for mass illegal immigration write legislation should be seen a crazy, unless you like what has happened. Then you are likely to get more of the same.

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Avatar for user 'JeffersonThomas1'

JeffersonThomas1 | January 24, 2013 at 10:55 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

People who think that illegal immigration is some sort of moral cause need to
read Victor David Hanson's brilliant analysis:

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | January 24, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Excellent analysis and Hanson is a Democrat!

JT1, Glad to see another Jeffersonian join KPBS, keep up the good posts!

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Avatar for user 'benz72'

benz72 | January 25, 2013 at 8 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

My wife had to wait in line and pay too. I had to sign an affidavit of support to ensure she wouldn't burden the government. It makes me angry that people who ignore the rules are rewarded. Follow the rules before complaining about being treated unfairly.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | January 25, 2013 at 11:22 a.m. ― 4 years, 1 month ago

Immigrants who "follow the rules" should have paths to full-citizenship. Immigrants who illegally enter the country but establish quasi-residency should have paths to legal residency so that they can file and pay income taxes. (They already pay sales taxes on everything they buy.) That two-tier system is a decent starting point for reasoned negotiations.

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