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Gang of Eight Releases Proposal For Bill On Comprehensive Immigration Reform

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Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)  —  The bipartisan group of US Senators known as the “Gang of Eight” released the text of their proposed bill for comprehensive immigration reform on Wednesday.

They’re already getting push back from both sides of the aisle.

The 844-page proposed bill includes provisions requiring 90-percent effectiveness at the US Border, a 13-plus year pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and policies that would clear visa backlog and protect workers from abuse.

“I reject their proposal and I believe majority of Americans will reject their proposal,” says Pennsylvania State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe of Butler County.

He’s been been outspoken in the Pennsylvania House on immigration issues, introducing bills that call for less rights for those here illegally.

“For Marco Rubio and the other members of the Gang of Eight to propose a plan that propose that we extend an amnesty plan to millions of illegal aliens that are stealing American jobs, when so many Americans are out of work, is offensive,” he says.

Margaret Adelberger, co founder of Pennsylvania for Immigration Control and Enforcement agrees.

She says the proposed bill should be rejected outright.

“We should be enforcing our laws instead of bending our laws to accommodate people who came here illegally,” says Adelberger.

On the other side of the aisle, immigration advocates are breathing a shallow sigh of relief.

“This bill is evidence, that our voice has been heard,” says Maria, a dream activist.

She was brought here as a child and lives in Philadelphia in a mixed status household.

“We will no longer remain in the shadows and let people take advantage of us because of our status,” she says

“We are happy to have some little light in the darkness,” says Carmen Garerro, an undocumented activist living in Norristown.

But there are a lot of concerns.

“The proposed 13 year length of the pathway to citizenship is unwarranted and should be shortened substantially,” says Natasha Keleman of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition.

She says the proposal discriminates against immigrants based on whether they are skilled or unskilled and could break up families.

“We are also concerned about the significant fines and income requirements that would exclude many hardworking and contributing immigrant families,” she says.

“We do see a tug of war over who can come, who can stay,” says Erika Almiron, executive director of Juntos.

“Immigration reform means stopping unjust deportations and citizenship- and not after 13 years- for the 11 million [undocumented] people and worker rights,” Almiron says.

The Gang of Eight issued a statement Wednesday saying the proposed bill is only a starting point.

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