Mayor Swearengin attends President Obama's immigration speech

January 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Fresno's Mayor Ashley Swearengin was one of four mayors from around the country who was invited to Nevada to attend the President's speech.

We spoke to Mayor Swearengin over the phone shortly after that speech. "The important thing is that Fresno is on the National radar screen," she said.

The President's remarks closely mirrored much of Monday's bipartisan Senate proposal. Now the Mayor and other city leaders are hoping this momentum will lead to an overhaul that powers the local economy. "In Fresno the issue of immigration reform is directly tied to our economy and that's true for other places in the country but probably nowhere is it more true than in Fresno. So when we talk about immigration reform we are talking about economic development," said Mayor Swearengin.

ABC 30 political analyst Tony Capozzi says without an overhaul the Valley's moneymaker -- agriculture -- which relies heavily on undocumented workers will take a big hit. "The agribusiness is the biggest in the world here in Central California and I think immigration reform is so important to our economy," said Capozzi.

At the heart of both the President's plan and one offered by a bipartisan group of senators is a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently here in the United States. Adriana Sanchez is one of them. "If there is not a pathway to citizenship you are going to leave millions of immigrants in a second class citizenship status," said Sanchez.

Political experts say there's still a long road ahead and Republicans on the far right are expected to fight the plan.


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