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Lawmakers Ponder Immigration Reform

The Senate passed a bill in June and now members in the House of Representatives must make a move.
The clock continues to tick for lawmakers to establish Immigration Reform.  The Senate passed a bill last month and now members in the House of Representatives must make a move.

Wednesday, House Democrats got together for a meeting with President Obama and Vice President Biden.  Meanwhile, Republicans held a conference of their own.  CBS47 spoke with a couple of our local lawmakers who sat in on each one.

The United States has an estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants.  In June, the Senate passed a bill which would give them temporary legal status as the government works to tighten security along Mexico’s border.

“We have a window of opportunity to fix a broken immigration system for our valley.  It is absolutely critical for our economy, for our economic future.  Our farms need to have a stable workforce,” said Congressman Jim Costa.
     
Congressman Jim Costa says the House has more than the 218 supporters needed to pass the Immigration Reform Bill.

“We probably have 180 or 190 Democrats that would vote for it and 60 to 80 Republicans who would vote for it,” said Rep. Costa.

“Right now there's nothing out there to vote on to come to the house floor,” said Congressman David Valadao.
     
Republican David Valadao says he and his colleagues plan to introduce their own bill to piggy back the Senate's proposal.

“A select group from each House will get together and negotiate the differences and then we would have an up or down vote on the outcome of that.  “It needs to be fixed and it's something we're very focused on.  Comprehensive immigration reform is the right thing to do,” said Rep. Valadao.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims wants to see change because many people who are undocumented fear the police will deport them.  In turn, they do not report when they are the victim of a crime.

“I'm talking about robbery, vehicle theft and women being assault.  Very serious issues we need to make sure people can report,” said Sheriff Mims.
     
Lawmakers take the month of August off for recess, so if the House doesn't get this bill introduced and passed in the next few weeks, this issue will get pushed back to September.

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