Diana Colin is an undocumented student and she doesn't like to define herself any other way.
She doesn't call herself a DREAMer even though her parents brought her to this country when she was two years old after saying good-bye to their native México City.
She grew up in Whittier, did well in school and majored in political science at Cal State Fullerton. Her younger brother Jaime was only 7 months old when the family arrived to the United States.
Like most people who immigrate to this country, Colin's parents sought a better future and opportunities for their children so they quickly became business owners and opened up two small dry-cleaning locations.
Getting through college was tough -- but not impossible.
Colin and her brother coordinated their schedules every semester to alternate shifts between their parents and each other to keep the business afloat and the tuition bills paid.
Still, with a political science degree in hand, Colin remains undocumented -- a reality she says, may very well change considering the new tone of the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.
"I want comprehensive immigration reform for everyone. Not just the agricultural workers, not just the DREAMers and I don't just want a driver's license or a work permit or a DACA application, but legal status," said Colin during a media press conference last week in Sacramento.
A bipartisan group of California lawmakers convened at the State Capitol last Thursday to announce their support for comprehensive immigration reform, days after President Barack Obama outlined his plan in Nevada.
Republicans -- it appears -- have had a change of heart.
Days before Obama took the stage, eight senators including Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida and John McCain of Arizona and four Democrats, came together to outline their proposal for comprehensive immigration reform.
Devoid of specifics, the plan would include a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants currently living in the United States, a complete overhaul of the current legal immigration system to date, the creation of an effective employment verification system and finally, improved process for admitting future workers to serve the nation's work force.
California lawmakers believe they are poised to take the initiative.
"For decades our immigration system has been broken. There is this very loud group that believes we need to deport all undocumented immigrants, yet the loud voices in this debate do not represent the majority opinion of California or across the United States," said state Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres.
"We must deal with immigration directly in a compassionate and practical manner. It is inconceivable to think we could deport 12 million undocumented immigrants. It is time we recognize the hard work and contributions of our immigrant population," said Cannella.
Assemblymember Rocky J. Chávez, R-Oceanside, highlighted the faces of the undocumented in this debate.
"There are many sailors and marines who are abroad serving this country right now. They are Latino and not American citizens. Yet, they have this desire for freedom and they are fighting for it," said Chávez.
"We need to level the playing field," he added.
Democrats, on the other hand, have made it clear that comprehensive immigration reform is top priority of the Obama Administration in his last term in office.
Assemblymember Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, gathered the lawmakers in his efforts to earn support for Assembly Joint Resolution 3, a measure that would specify principles for repairing the nation's broken immigration system and would urge Congress and the president to take a comprehensive and workable approach to improving the nation's immigration system using those same principles.
Now that Republicans and Democrats are on the same page on immigration reform, Café con Leche Republicans -- an organization that was founded in October 2011 -- is determined to devote time educating the Republican Party about immigration so the anti-immigrant rhetoric can change -- one Republican at a time.
"There is a very small, but loud group that believes we need to deport all undocumented immigrants, yet these loud voices do not represent the majority of the Republican Party," said Bob Quasius, founder of Café con Leche Republicans.
"Most moderate Republicans have shied away from the whole immigration issue because it is too divisive. What's happened is that those who are opposed to immigration reform have been the loudest and shrillest and have made really outrageous comments that have hurt the Republican Party," said Quasius.
The anti-immigrant rhetoric -- such as former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's idea of "self-deportation" -- blurred the "real desires" of the Republican Party for immigration reform.
"We want a pathway to citizenship for those here illegally. It's not good to have 11 million people living in the shadows and that would include no criminal records, pay taxes, a fine and eventually become residents and citizens," said Quasius.
"Secondly, we need to address the legal immigration system -- it's broken and not meeting the needs of the economy and finally, we need a robust guest worker program because at the moment there is a big disconnect between labor demands and guestworkers."
"In short, we need an immigration system that truly reflects our economy, has accountability and fairness. Bottom line, if we make our legal immigration system truly reflect our economy, it will reduce the incentive for people to come here illegally," he said.
Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center said in a conference call that there have been many misperceptions about immigration reform, namely the confusion it represents with IRCA in 1986 and what it truly did to the economy.
"Those who became legalized saw an increase in their wages and they in turn invested in getting new skills by getting more education and training; it was a fabulously cheap national work force development program.
Secondly, the principal fear in peoples lives about being deported diminished -- so it served as a long term investment for children of those families, essentially creating an anti-poverty program."
"What immigration reform does, is it closes the gaps between people -- the social and economic differences," she added.
Senator Cannella agrees.
"Many undocumented have lived most of their lives here, paying taxes, working and trying to achieve the American dream even when the legal path to citizenship is broken so we must change the status quo and act immediately -- we must recognize the hard work and contributions of our immigrant population and we have to remember that at one point, we were all immigrants in this great country."
For Colin, having Republicans soften on the issue of comprehensive immigration reform is a matter of coming to terms about the demographic changes in California and voting trends.
"Democrats know they have to do it and Republicans know they need us in the future for votes," she said.
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