Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The president's speech as seen through the eyes of illegal immigrants

Steve Lopez: The president's speech as seen through the eyes of illegal immigrants -

Rounding up and deporting the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants now in the country would cost billions and deal a blow to the economy, in her opinion. She supports proposals that would require illegal immigrants to pay a $1,000 fine, learn English, pass a U.S. history test and apply for legal status that could take three years to earn.

As it is, she said, families are paying about $2,500 for various legalization application forms. And many families are losing thousands more to scammers who promise to handle the paperwork and then disappear.

Dominguez let me sit in on part of her conference Tuesday with Daniel, a U.S. citizen from Riverside who was with his undocumented wife, Leticia, and their two sons. Leticia came to California illegally in the 1990s to attend a wedding and never went home to Mexico.

No matter what Obama promised in the way of a pathway to legalization, said Daniel, there's no history of follow-through by anyone in Washington.

"We just don't have confidence that the government will act on this," he said.

Daniel said immigration agents entered a supermarket in Riverside recently and asked shoppers for their papers. It could happen to his wife at any moment, he said, and their family would be ripped apart.

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