On the eve of the formal discussion for the immigration reform in the U.S. Senate, civic group leaders from the U.S. and from south of the border are maintain pressure on Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform.
During a conference call arranged by the "CHANGE" campaign, the mayor of San Diego, California, Bob Filner, and representatives of civic groups urged the Senate to approve an immigration reform that takes into account the due process and civil rights of immigrants.
Filner argued that the main problem on the border is not security but the "deficiencies" that cause delays and financial losses that add up to $6 million dollars annually to the local economy of the region.
"Compared to a decade ago, the region is safer now. People do not feel threatened like they did before. Our concern now in San Diego is the efficiency of legal crossings," Filner said, noting that 32 states have a bilateral trade relationship with Mexico.
When asked by Efe on the Republican demands to strengthen border enforcement and security, Filner said that "conservatives do not want a path to legalization", but also acknowledged that pro-reform groups have not been effective "to argue that that is not the main issue".
Sylvia Aguilar, the "number two" of the sheriff's office in El Paso, Texas, said that border towns "are among the safest in U.S.," and that Congress must demand accountability from agencies that oversee the security at the border.
If Congress approves this immigration reform, it will be the biggest immigration reform since 1986 that legalized three million undocumented immigrants. In 2007 immigration reform failed amid partisan struggles, some of which have been repeated this year.