Activists take issue with immigration reform bill

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The new immigration reform bill that would allow many undocumented immigrant workers to become citizens has some pro-immigrant groups in Westchester saying it?s unfair and unworkable.

If approved, the bill would strengthen border security and create a ?guest worker? program to give immigrants a legal way to get jobs for two years. In order to become citizens, illegal immigrants would have to pay $5,000 in fines and learn English. The bill would also create a new merit system for future immigrants that would give preference to educated, skilled workers.

Graciella Heymann, of the Westchester Immigration Alliance, says she is opposed to the lack of consideration the bill gives to families of immigrants. Heymann says the fees are onerous to workers who probably only make $10,000 a year. She adds that a merit-based system is unworkable. Heymann claims the bill treats illegal immigrants as workers, not as human beings.

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