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Tuesday, Aug 20 2013 12:51 PM

'First Look': Immigration reform debate continues

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    Gebe Martinez, a senior writer and policy analyst for the Center for American Progress, talked about immigration policy on "First Look with Scott Cox."

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Immigration is a political reality. On Tuesday, "First Look with Scott Cox" guest host Ralph Bailey shared his thoughts on the controversial topic.

"This is an issue of our life right now and we have to fix this," Bailey said.

Richard Beene, president and CEO of The Californian, agreed with Bailey and said the details in the immigration reform bill were the most important.

Gebe Martinez, a senior writer and policy analyst for the Center for American Progress, joined Bailey and Beene over the phone from Washington, D.C. She offered her opinion on the caravan and rally that took place last week in front of the office of Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield.

"As advocates we don't see him leading on this issue and it's ironic because his district is made up of a large Latino population," Martinez said. "The industry in Kern relies heavily on immigrant labor for agriculture means."

McCarthy has previously talked about fixing a "broken" immigration system and has spoken in favor of a guest worker program. But he hasn't supported a full House vote on the Senate's bill.

Many people might hold the misconception that the bill is some sort of amnesty. But both Beene and Martinez said that was not true.

"These people have to wait 10 to 15 years before they can apply for citizenship so they will be paying their taxes and they won't have access to federal means or Obamacare" Martinez said.

But Bailey said McCarthy must fear what could happen if he voted for the bill.

"He would lose his political support in an instant," Bailey said. "But he should deal with it and we need to stop pretending that this isn't an issue because it is."

 

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