As President Obama prepared to unveil his plan to overhaul the nation’s immigration system Tuesday, advocates for immigrants in Massachusetts and nationwide mobilized for what they say is their best chance in almost three decades to secure a path to US citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
Advocates say Obama’s recent victory and Republican attempts to appease Latino voters who flexed their political muscle last year could propel Congress to pass legislation that has failed repeatedly, even as the number of illegal immigrants climbed to the highest levels in US history.
“I think it’s going to happen this year,” said Eva A. Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, which is among the groups pushing for citizenship and other changes. “The blueprint is out there. The expectation is there.”
Obama is to reveal his plan for immigration Tuesday in a speech at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas, in the home state of Senate majority leader Harry Reid, where the Latino population has ballooned in the last decade.
The president’s speech comes one day after a bipartisan group of eight senators, including New York Democrat Charles Schumer and Republican John McCain of Arizona, released their own immigration proposal in Washington, calling it a “tough, fair, and practical road map” that would let illegal immigrants pay a fine and back taxes and apply for legal residency, and someday, US citizenship. The plan would also make it easier for farm workers and highly educated immigrants to remain in the country. Serious criminals would still be subject to deportation.
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