SAN DIEGO - A toned-down version of a resolution that supports comprehensive immigration legislation and a pathway to citizenship for people living in the country illegally was passed unanimously Tuesday by the San Diego City Council.
The document drawn up by Councilmen David Alvarez and Mark Kersey calls for support of bipartisan congressional efforts to draft comprehensive immigration reform.
That point was not included in the original version, drafted by Alvarez, which passed the council's Rules Committee last month on a 3-2 vote along party lines, with the Democrats in favor. The resolution, which is largely symbolic, requires the approval of the full City Council.
The original resolution called for providing a "reasonable" pathway to citizenship that's not tied to border security, especially for people who were brought to the United States as children and grew up in this country.
The document referred to "shortsighted border enforcement strategies that add extra obstacles and burdens to full reform."
The proposal that came before the full council now reads, "the city supports and immigration reform should include, a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living within our nation's borders -- not tied to unreasonable conditions."
Alvarez said he worked with Kersey, who cast a dissenting vote in committee, on the final draft.
"We're hoping to send a strong message from the city of San Diego to our representatives in Washington, D.C.," Alvarez said.
He said some members of the local congressional delegation remain on the fence regarding immigration.
Kersey called it "a strong bipartisan statement" that the council supports reasonable immigration legislation.
"We support a pathway to citizenship, a safe border, reunification of families, and a reasonable approach to visas that allow businesses to hire the talent they need when it's not available at home," Kersey said. "Everyone agrees, the immigration system as it is today is broken."
The final version added a section stating that reform measures must clear out years-long backlogs in immigration and visa applications, and speed up long border waits.
"We are in a unique place at the border to offer our expertise as a border community," Pedro Rios of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium said.
Eight U.S. senators, four Democrats and four Republicans are drafting federal legislation governing immigration and border security.