A bipartisan group of senators has agreed on a plan to grant legal status to most of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., which could form the basis for a far-reaching overhaul of immigration laws this year.
The Senate blueprint, drafted during weeks of closed-door meetings by leading senators from each party, will probably set parameters for a contentious legislative battle over the next several months. The eight senators involved released their proposal publicly Monday.
The Senate plan is more conservative than President Barack Obama's proposal, which he planned to unveil Tuesday in a speech in Las Vegas. But its provisions for legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants go further than measures that failed to advance in Congress in previous years -- a reminder of how swiftly the politics of immigration have shifted since Latino voters' strong influence in the November election.
In terms of the number of people who would potentially receive legal status, it would be more than three times larger than the amnesty plan passed under President Ronald Reagan in 1986, which legalized about 3 million immigrants.
The senators involved hope to begin committee votes on a bill as soon as March. The timing of their proposal and Obama's, coupled with that schedule -- quick by Senate standards -- could set up a dynamic in which an eventual bill falls somewhere between the bipartisan plan and the president's.
Latino activists and other advocates for comprehensive immigration reform have pushed for quick action in the Senate, hoping that a large bipartisan vote for a bill that includes a path to citizenship would put pressure on the House.
Many members of the House Republican majority represent districts where proposals for legalization remain highly unpopular, but many Republicans also worry about the political price if the party takes the blame for killing immigration reform.
The Senate proposal would allow most of those in the country illegally to obtain probationary legal status immediately by paying a fine and back taxes and passing a background check. That would make them eligible to work and live in the U.S. They could earn a green card -- permanent residency -- after the government certifies that the U.S.-Mexican border has become secure, but might face a lengthy process before becoming citizens.
'Yo Te Apoyo' campaign
NEW YORK -- In honor of the 40th anniversary of the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) has launched 'Yo Te Apoyo' (I Support You), a campaign to correct outdated assumptions about Latino/as and reproductive care.
"The bottom line is that our community has compassionate views on abortion " said Jéssica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH. "Six out of 10 Latinos support a woman's ability to make her own personal, private decisions about abortion. Our community is declaring, 'Yo Te Apoyo' -- I support you with out judgment."
Foro sobre acción deferida
MADERA -- Varias organizaciones de beneficio a la comunidad e instituciones están uniendo esfuerzos para ofrecer una variedad de información y servicios a las familias en Madera y los pueblos alrededores interesados en aplicar para la Acción Diferida para los Llegados de Infancia (DACA).
El foro se llevará a cabo el jueves (31 de enero) en la preparatoria Madera South High School, 705 W. Pecan Ave. El registro comienza a las 5 p.m.
MADERA -- Camarena Health will hold its 19th annual Scholarship Fundraiser Luncheon and Raffle on Feb. 8 at the Italo-American Club Hall, 331 S. D Street.
Donations are $10 for the tri-tip lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Participants can either dine in or pick up lunches on the run. Raffle tickets are $1 for 1 ticket or $10 for 12 tickets.
Details: Judith Fenton at (559) 664-4014.
Saroyan writing contest
FRESNO -- Entries are being accepted through 9 p.m. on March 4 for the annual William Saroyan Story Writing Contest.
The William Saroyan Society, in association with Fresno County Public Library and the Fresno County Office of Education, sponsors the annual event.
Students in grades first through college are encouraged to submit stories. All entries should be mailed directly to: Karen Coletti, Fresno County Library, Saroyan Writing Contest, 2420 Mariposa Street, Fresno, California, 93721.
Entry forms are available at local schools, Central Valley public and academic libraries, and online at www.williamsaroyansociety.org.
Awards are made in six categories. The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the Woodward branch public library on April 25, 2013.
Applications available for Rotary summer exchange program
High school students interested in traveling abroad this summer to Germany, England, Italy, Spain and Brazil through the Rotary Youth Exchange (RYE) program, applications are now available.
Applications are due Feb. 28 with applications for exchanges to Germany and Brazil due April 15.
To qualify, students must be 15 to19 years old and live or attend school in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Calaveras, Mariposa, Madera, Southern Sacramento, or Tuolumne counties. Students do not have to have a family member in Rotary to be selected. The program is open to all high school students.
Host families provide basic food and lodging. Students are responsible for airfare, medical insurance, spending money and any fees, which vary depending on the country.
Interested students should contact their local Rotary Club for help with the application process.
Details, applications: www.rotary5220youthexchange.org. Sam Wheeler at (209) 536-1218 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.