Locals Respond to Obama Proposal for Immigration Reform - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Locals Respond to Obama Proposal for Immigration Reform

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) - President Obama has a new proposal for immigration reform: give illegal immigrants temporary legal status if they pass a criminal background check, pay a fine and back taxes and learn English.

For professional writer and mother Allena Tapia of Eaton County, it was all a bit "abstract."

"I was just really wondering where we are going to go. How long is it going to take? How are these bullet points going to, you know, change as we get closer and closer to the real thing?" said Tapia.

Tapia is to mother of 12-year-old Maricela and 9-year-old Benicio. Their father was the first person on that side of the family to be born legally in the U.S. His father was naturalized, but came over illegally.

"We can't make this into an 'us/them' thing. We can't have that 'other' mentality. It's just not going to work. This is our community now. This is everyone. This is the new us," said Tapia.

Tapia knows for this to pass with bipartisan support, there will need to be beefed up border enforcement. But she says that most important is a pathway to citizenship.

"Anything less will put an entire group of our community members, our neighbors, our coworkers, it would put them into a second-class citizenship, a second class group. And that's unacceptable," she says.

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