EL CAJON, Calif. -
It is a tale of two reactions as local voices in the immigration debate sound off on the bipartisan compromise.
"I'm still kind of in shock," said Erehida Moctezuma as she wiped away tears after learning of a possible pathway to citizenship outlined in the compromise Senate bill.
When she was 10 years old, Moctezuma, her parents and two siblings crossed the border illegally. At age 20, she is a parent herself and tired of living in the shadows.
"Just thinking about getting deported… it's really hard, especially with my daughter… to leave her here," she said.
Moctezuma has applied to Mesa College. Her dream to go to school and become a nurse has never seemed so close.
"I'm so excited," she said. "I'm happy because I'm able to accomplish all my goals."
Immigrant rights advocates said the proposed bill will be good for the local economy by allowing many to come forward, work and pay taxes.
"This pathway is now a voice for immigrants that have come here to make better lives for their families and themselves," said Estela De Los Rios, the executive director for the Center for Social Advocacy San Diego County.
Critics of a pathway to citizenship say there will be an economic impact, but not a good one.
"lt's negligent," said Ted Hilton, who has helped lead two unsuccessful ballot drives targeting illegal immigration.
Hilton said the lure of citizenship will act as magnet for more illegal immigrants, which will further burden public assistance programs.
"They don't have to stay in their countries and wait," he said. "They come over … and do whatever they have to do to survive and take jobs from American citizens."
Many critics of a pathway to citizenship do like some items in the proposal, including more border security and employment verification.
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