10:45 P.M (MST)
Yuma County has its fair share of the reported 11 million undocumented immigrants here in the United States, so the issue of being able to gain citizenship after having already lived here illegally remains the largest topic of debate.
Under the federal governments new plans undocumented immigrants would have the opportunity to obtain citizenship if they follow and meet strict guidelines, such as passing background checks, paying back taxes, as well as a penalty for having initially crossed into the country illegally.
Several local residents believe that those here illegally should get the chance to become documented citizens, but only if the proper steps are taken.
“They should have to pay back taxes, pay a fine, because if they came here illegally, they’re really criminals in my estimation.”
One man also believes that businesses who knowingly hire illegal citizens should be harshly punished.
“I think there should be a tremendous fine for hiring illegals. There’s nothing wrong with immigration, I think immigration is fine, as long as they come in legally through the front door.”
Local immigration attorney Cid Kallen says that the new process for immigration needs to be clear and broad enough so that people are encouraged to take part in the process of becoming legal citizens.
“It will require a buy-in, something that is simple enough, comprehensive enough, and broad enough to be able to affect enough people in a significant way.”