Mixed reaction to president's leaked pathway to citizenship

by: Shae Rozzi Updated:

ATLANTA - The White House is circulating a draft immigration bill that would create a new visa for illegal immigrants living in the United States and allow them to become legal permanent residents within eight years, according to a report published online Saturday by USA Today.

President Barack Obama's bill would create a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. The bill includes more security funding and requires business owners to adopt a system for verifying the immigration status of new hires within four years, the newspaper said.

Last month, a bipartisan group of senators announced they had agreed on the general outline of an immigration plan. For his part, Obama has said he would not submit his own legislation to Congress so long as law makers acted "in a timely manner." If they failed, he said, "I will send up a bill based on my proposal and insist that they vote on it right away."
D.A. King of Marietta called Obama’s plan as leaked to USA Today a slap in the face to the entire immigration system.

“What needs to be done is that we need to enforce our laws,” King told Channel 2’s Shae Rozzi.

As president of the Dustin Inman Society to Secure Georgia, King said he is pro-enforcement and not anti-immigration reform.

“The reality is that our current immigration system is a disaster, it’s dysfunctional,” said criminal defense attorney Doug Rohan.

Rohan told Rozzi that he has represented numerous undocumented workers.

“I’ve had a client in my office before that was on a waiting list here with her temporary visa for 19 years seeking approval for her residency status. The system does not work as it currently stands,” Rohan said.

Rohan said our borders are more secure than ever before, while King believes if the president’s proposal passes, it would lead to more illegal border crossing.

Earlier this month, Channel 2 Action News brought you exclusive reports as the Georgia National Guard secured the Texas-Mexico border by air.

While the two men Rozzi spoke with are on different sides of the issue, they both agreed that the plan likely would not pass.

Rohan said the Republican response already coming out of Washington indicates that the bill is dead on arrival, but he described what he likes about it.

“I think that it’s very important that those who are here illegally pay a fine, that they are fingerprinted, that they are given an opportunity to pay back taxes and document that they have been here for a period of time,” Rohan said.

King explained how he believes the number of undocumented workers has increased over the years.

“Most people do not know that nearly half the illegals in this country right now did not come illegally, they came lawfully on a temporary visa and refused to leave,” King said.

He does not think the president’s plan as he understands it will improve the situation.

“This Obama plan does not have a snowball’s chance in hell,” King says. 

Channel 2 Action News

Delivered To Your Inbox