Instead of a path, Labrador said he wants to provide undocumented people a status that allows them to work and go back home.
“Some people are calling it a blue card or a red card,” Labrador said. “Just something that gives them the ability to be in the United States, to come out of the shadows, to work, to travel, to go back home to their home countries, you know, to visit family, all those things. I think we should treat them with dignity, but we should also be fair to the millions of people that are waiting in line that are trying to do it the right way.”
“American people are fair people,” Labrador continued. “But they also respect their citizenship and they want to make sure that we don’t encourage people in the future to come back to the United States. Remember when the last amnesty happened? We were supposed to only take care of 3 million people.”
Immigration overhaul advocates argue that providing a path to citizenship is key to the changes.
“We don’t want to create a situation where we just leave people in limbo, we have enough examples of why that doesn’t work, so let’s create a system that actually does work,” said Salas, of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles.
Overhaul proponents point to the systems in France and Germany where immigrants have not been fully integrated, which have resulted in social problems and, at times, civil unrest.
“When we have said to a group of people, ‘You’re good enough to work here, but you’re not good enough to be one of us,’ it hasn’t worked out well,” Sharry said.
“What’s good for immigrants — having the choice [to become a citizen] — is also good for America so that we don’t create an institutionalized group of second-class noncitizens,” Sharry said.
Following the speeches from elected officials, the crowd stands at long tables as they dig into BBQ, brunswick stew, cadillac rice at the Law Enforcement Cookout at Wayne Dasher's pond house in Glennville, Ga., on Thursday, April 17, 2014.