Jury's still out on President's immigration reform speech - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Jury's still out on President's immigration reform speech

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - With the Stars and Stripes waving vigorously behind him, President Obama stood on a stage in El Paso, Texas Tuesday calling on Republicans to join him in his continued effort to create change in immigration reform.

It didn't take long for critics to confront President Obama's stance that he's on top of immigration reform and that it's a top priority of his administration.

California Republican Congressman Bryan Bilbray responded to the president's speech saying in a statement, "While the crime rate and number of illegal crossings along the border is down, the federal government has still not done enough to address the source of the problem - employers who use illegal labor."

Congressman Bilbray cites a lack of support from the president to join members of the House Immigration Reform Caucus to implement E-Verify; the nationwide program to hold employers accountable.

One San Diego based immigration rights group says the time for change is now.

"We're not asking for Amnesty we're asking for a pathway to legalization," said Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels.  He says while he's disappointed in the president's progress on keeping campaign promises, he still thinks the president has the right idea with the DREAM act.

"Whether you're on this side of the aisle or the other, [I don't know] how people can deny the children of undocumented people, that had no say in their parents crossing the border without papers, the opportunity to continue with their education," Morones explains.

The DREAM act would allow those immigrants under the age of sixteen when they were brought into the U.S. a chance to climb the ladder of success, but would require them to have a high school diploma and have spent two years in college or the military.

"I have dreams like anyone else," said Pedro Ramirez, the student body president at California State University Fresno.

He is set to graduate and had his eyes set on a great future when his parents decided to finally tell him he was brought into the country illegally when he was just three years old and needs the Dream Act to help him with his future.

Enrique Morones says younger immigrants who never had a choice just need a chance and are willing to pay the price to have it.

"We'd rather pay a duty to the US government than to a smuggler whose going to leave us out there to die," he says.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois will file a new DREAM act Wednesday. While Representative Howard Berman of California will file similar legislation in the house.

President Obama cited that the DREAM act could help approximately eleven-million illegal immigrants get onto the road towards gaining legal status.

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