Counselor of Mexican Consulate Speaks Out About Immigration Reform

Counselor of Mexican Consulate Speaks Out About Immigration Reform

Josh Navarro
NewsWest 9

PRESIDIO - The talk of immigration reform continues to be a hot button issue and state democrats from the Lone Star State are calling on Congress to tackle this issue. The local Mexican consulate who advises undocumented immigrants says something has to be done once and for all.

Just recently in Austin, Democratic Senators wrote a Senate Concurrent Resolution expressing the reason why a comprehensive immigration reform is needed. They say the last reform is 20 years old and fails to address the challenges posed by immigration today, which is something that the Mexican consulate of the Presidio District echoes.

"It's necessary, we need it, there's 11-12 million people undocumented and the time is now, there should be no more waiting, is basically what they're saying," Mary Martinez-Gonzalez, Counselor for the Presidio District of the Mexican Consulate, said.

Gonzalez says the local impact of passing such a reform would be felt directly.

"Immediately that would be an impact, economically," Gonzalez said.

In the resolution it cites the findings of The Perryman Group saying Texas alone would lose $69.3 billion in its economy if undocumented immigrants were removed from the state.

Just last month, USA Today reported on a leaked copy of the president's immigration proposal. The "draft" bill would create a new visa, allowing illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years, boost border security funding and require employers to check immigration status of new hires.

"There's a huge number of people that want this so badly and want to be able to participate in everything that Americans are able to participate in. So I think it'll have a huge impact here," Gonzalez said.

Now that Washington is starting to take up the issue, Gonzalez says she has seen hope in the eyes of those who live in the shadows.

"Probably a lot of them have been participating for years and years and no one knew that they're not here legally. A lot of them go through school, all the way up to college degrees and they can't practice what they went to school for, because they don't have social security. Even though the American flag is the only one they've ever supported or pledge allegiance to," Gonzalez said.

In Washington, a group of eight senators from both sides are expected to unveil a bi-partisan bill sometime this month that they have been working on, however, it may not be brought up for a vote until this summer.