Immigration reform advances, local activists protest
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Immigration reform is moving forward after surviving a key Senate vote, but local immigration advocates question whether added emphasis on enforcement is the way to go.
Local groups including Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, No More Deaths and Border Action Network held signs and chanted in downtown Tucson near the Tucson Convention Center. They did not want this new amendment to move forward Monday.
Among the list of things that could be added include 20 thousand border patrol agents, up to 700 miles of fencing along the border, and a budget of 50 billion dollars that would go toward drones and new technology.
At the same time, it sets out a pathway to citizenship for some 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.
Activists say they're worried if security measures increase, so will migrant deaths.
"When we see an increase in militarization, we are going to see more desperate people trying to cross to reunite with their families," said Juanita Molina, of Border Action Network.
"We think the amendment is a very bad idea," said Dan Millis, the Sierra Club. "It costs too much and it's not going to work. Just think of what we can do with nearly 50 billion dollars?"
A new report by the Congressional Budget Office shows the government could reduce its deficit once these undocumented immigrants start paying taxes.
The Senate will vote on Thursday or Friday.
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