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Immigration Reform Efforts Applauded By South Bay Day Laborers

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KCBS's Matt Bigler started as a reporter/anchor in 2004, and is now...
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MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS/AP) – Talk of sweeping immigration reform on Capitol Hill is being cheered by day laborers in Silicon Valley, although there are still concerns about the nuts and bolts of the proposal.

A group of eight senators, both Democrats and Republicans, unveiled proposals on Monday to secure the border, allow more guest workers, require tougher verification measures by employers and create a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.

The lawmakers pledged to get a wide-ranging bill through the Senate by this summer.

María Marroquín, Executive Director of the Day Worker Center of Mountain View, said she hopes lawmakers are realizing the need for humane immigration reform. But she said she was less enthusiastic about one of the ideas – a new agricultural worker program.

“The previous experience that we had didn’t really work well,” she said. “It’s really easy to abuse workers under those premises.”

There is also concern about a more effective employment verification system to ensure that employers are not hiring illegal immigrants.

“Please do not put anything on the application that says you must be a U.S. citizen. That would create devastation for thousands and thousands of hard working, devoted men and women in this country,” said Christine Chatwell, a volunteer at the Day Worker Center..

Meanwhile, the National Day Laborer Organizing Network is demanding that any new immigration reform proposals begin with a suspension of deportations.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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