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RivCo Supervisors Reach Compromise on Resolution Favoring Immigration Reform

The county board of supervisors voted Tuesday on the issue. What do you think of their decision?

After hearing passionate appeals on both sides, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors this week endorsed a "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" framework proposed by eight U.S. lawmakers.

"This is a bipartisan effort. It lays out a tough but fair roadmap to citizenship," said Supervisor Marion Ashley, who joined Chairman John Benoit in introducing a resolution calling for support of legislation being drawn up by Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., John McCain, R-Ariz., Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

The so-called "Gang of Eight" are drafting an immigration reform plan based on a set of legislative "pillars" specifying how illegal immigrants can gain citizenship and what must be done to fortify the nation's immigration policies.

The plan's general provisions seek to ease requirements for undocumented minors to be granted citizenship; mandate that adults seeking citizenship register with the government and undergo background checks before their applications can be considered; and allow employers to "hire immigrants if it can be demonstrated that they were unsuccessful in recruiting an American to fill an open position."

The senators also state their desire to strengthen border security and implement a national system by which all job applicants are screened to confirm they're eligible to work in the U.S.

Around 20 people on both sides of immigration reform addressed the board. Most of those in favor of Ashley's and Benoit's resolution spoke only Spanish and were affiliated with immigrants' rights organizations in the Coachella Valley and Perris.

"You cannot ignore millions of people living in the U.S. We work in the fields, picking everything. We work in construction, factories. Who takes these jobs? Only our people. Support the reform," Antonio Ayala of Perris told the board.

"A lot of the kids would make good citizens," said Josephine Lopez. "Please support this."

Raymond Herrera of Riverside lambasted Ashley and Benoit, accusing them of catering to the illegal immigrant lobby -- to the detriment natural-born citizens.

"Deport anybody who is here illegally," Herrera said. "You're saying it's OK to displace my American children. It's not your job being given away. It's time to uphold the Constitution, not subvert it."

A woman identified as Robin said the supervisors' resolution promoted amnesty.

"We want our laws enforced," she said. "We don't need comprehensive immigration reform. We need comprehensive immigration enforcement. Our laws should be upheld and respected."

Benoit called the senators' proposal an "equitable resolution to a longstanding problem," while Ashley acknowledged it was a compromise not everybody would be happy with, but was still "the best chance for realizing change."

Supervisors Kevin Jeffries and Jeff Stone expressed strong reservations but agreed to back the resolution as long as there were amendments to it that reflected their concerns.

Stone's amendment, which the entire board accepted, read: "The county supports humane pathways to citizenship, but we call upon Congress to fully fund local governments' unfunded programs that provide services for undocumented immigrants in our jails, who are receiving healthcare and unemployment benefits, food stamps, educational benefits, etc."

The board also added Jeffries' amendment to the resolution, emphasizing the county's preference for criminal background checks on all illegal immigrants applying for citizenship and the nationwide use of E-Verify, a federal Internet-based program that relies on Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records to determine whether a prospective employee is documented.

What do YOU think of the board's decision?  Tell us in the comments.

Ron Moon February 27, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit 760-863-8211 took an oath to uphold ALL Laws of the United States of America. He is choosing not to do that by agreeing to an Amnesty by those who as Adults, chose to break our Laws an enter our Country Illegally. Illegal is Illegal. You do not reward unlawful behavior. This makes Riverside County Supervisor John Benoit a Liar. I would Love to see the Supervisor hold a Town Hall meeting to address this personally but he won't due to his Political Cowardness.
ATC February 27, 2013 at 11:08 PM
Why is our county government wasting their time on this? County governments have no authority over illegal immigration. Do they not have anything better to do?
Ellen Carr February 28, 2013 at 05:52 AM
Why are the "stuporvisors" messing with illegal immigration? They're getting ready for the next election and need the Hispanic vote! I'll admit I'm a liberal but when it comes to illegals getting a free ride to citizenship the answer is "NO"! They broke the law and that's a crime. You don't reward lawbreakers. When I here talk about illegals I think of mainly Hispanics. What about the other illegals who are in our country? Are they going to be given a free ride also? I would wager many people don't like the idea of free rides for illegals but are afraid to say so. They don't want to be called racist. I'm not a racist. I have friends of all races, creeds and color. Just a thought, I know a few people(not Latino) who are in the USA legally. Are they going to be afforded the same free ride as illegals? As the saying goes:"what's good for the goose is good forthe gander".
Ellen Carr February 28, 2013 at 08:28 PM
I reread my post and found a glaring misspelling "here" should be HEAR! I was thinking...my Grandfather came from Poland as a young child. His father came to the USA first(legally) to work so he could save money to send for the rest of the family. My Great Grandfather put all his children in school to learn ENGLISH. He and my Great Grandmother also learned English. The entire family became citizens and for many many years the family volunteered working at the "polls". My Grandfather fought in World War 1 and he joined the Army willing. When my Mom turned "21" my Grandfather went to her job got her and took her to City Hall so she could register to vote. I guess what I'm trying to say is my family fully assimilated themselves to be Americans not Polish immigrants. The only flag you could find in their home was the American flag. If you're going to be an American then your only allegiance should be to the USA not your country of origin. My family did everything legally. It wasn't easy but they wanted to be Americans so they followed the law. If being an American is what poeple want then they should do things the right way. If you just want to live in the USA to reap the benefits than you're not here for the right reason. We need people who love their new country and pledge allegiance to and only to it. We have only one flag "the stars and the stripes" and one common language: English. Your in America then be an American! I am a proud AMERICAN!!

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