Immigration Watch: Local Illegals Keep Tabs On Immigration Reform Debate

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 29, 2013 Updated Jan 29, 2013 at 6:17 PM EST

INDIANA (www.incnow.tv) --- "Now is the time" to revamp the nation's immigration system.

Those were the words Tuesday of President Obama, as he laid out plans for an immigration overhaul.

Hundreds of illegals in the Fort Wayne area are closely monitoring the situation.

We spoke with an illegal immigrant in town who is hoping Washington will initiate the kind of change that could transform his idea of living the American dream.

A southeast side neighborhood is home to Jorge Gonzalez, along with his brother, sister and his mom and dad.

Ten years ago, they came to Fort Wayne illegally.

Jorge is paid cash working roofing jobs, because he doesn't have legal papers to let him work at a factory or many other businesses.

What if Congress reforms immigration policy, allowing him a path to citizenship?

" It's going to be important that we can be able to work without trying to hide stuff and we're going to be able to work normal like other people," Gonzalez said.

Indeed, for “undocumenteds” who might get a shot at citizenship, it could not only mean an opportunity to secure legal employment, but the chance to get drivers licenses and qualify for a host of other benefits such as Medicaid.

" After November 6th, they found out the importance of the Latino vote,” said Fernando Zapari, who publishes the El Mexicano newspaper in Fort Wayne, read by close to 40,000 people.

He says consideration for illegals is overdue.

" I know so many of them myself, over 20 years have been living in this country, behaving very well, working, not abusing the system."

Jorge Gonzalez, too, is counting on Washington to give illegals a break.

" So they can start getting what they came to this country for, a better life."

There are potential snags that could scuttle a new immigration deal.

Republicans want more robust border security measures, tough penalties for employers who hire illegals, and a visa tracking system, and if they don't get those things, they could oppose significant immigration reform.




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