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San Diego Groups Weigh In On Proposed Immigration Bills

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State Democratic lawmakers this week announced an effort to extend health care, legal rights and business protections to immigrants living in California illegally.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins of San Diego, and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles were among the Democrats who proposed 10 bills. They call their effort the "Liberty and Justice" package.

The package includes a bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego to protect immigrants from scams. Other proposals include expanding Medi-Cal coverage and establishing an office to help immigrants living in the state illegally with naturalization services.

Andrea Guerrero, executive director of Alliance San Diego, told KPBS the state could lead the way in immigration reform with this package of bills.

“This is a welcomed package that supports, protects and integrates immigrant families,” Guerrero told KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday. “We can’t afford otherwise. It’s humane. It’s compassionate.”

But Joe Guzzardi, national media director for Californians for Population Stabilization, said offering protections would encourage more illegal immigration.

“The reason the immigration system is broken because none of the laws have been enforced,” Guzzardi said. “We’re totally opposed to the bills. It’s another outreach to illegal immigrants. It’s another reward to illegal immigrants.”

The state majority's effort was announced the same week a federal judge refused to lift a temporary hold on President Barack Obama's executive action that would protect millions of immigrants from deportation.

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