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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Immigration Activist ‘Optimistic’ About Reform

Immigration activists hold signs as they protest in front of Freedom Tower in downtown Miami on Monday. (Alan Diaz/AP)

Immigration activists hold signs as they protest in front of Freedom Tower in downtown Miami on Monday. (Alan Diaz/AP)

President Barack Obama will travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday to rally support for his immigration reform plan, which would give undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship.

On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators announced its own plan for immigration reform. The White House says the president will endorse most of the senators’ ideas, but the president will also outline his differences.

“They’d rather pay the U.S. government… than to pay a smuggler that’s going to abandon them.”

– Enrique Morones

Enrique Morones, president and founder of Border Angels, a group that works to reduce the death toll of people crossing the border into the U.S. from Mexico, told Here & Now that he’s optimistic about the progress being made in Washington.

“I feel that we’re closer than ever,” Morones said. “We’re out in the field, we’re out in the desert, putting [out] water because every day that we don’t have humane immigration reform, two people die.”

Morones wants to know more about what lawmakers mean by further strengthening the borders, but he’s encouraged that the plan would provide a path to citizenship.

“Let’s let them get in line. They’d rather pay the U.S. government some sort of a duty to be able to get in line – even if it’s the back of the line… than to pay a smuggler that’s going to abandon them – killing them while they’re crossing the desert. Let’s set up a system that’s humane, and let’s get the humane into this immigration debate,” he said.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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