Rhode Island Senators Brief Business on Immigration Reform - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

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Rhode Island Senators Brief Business on Immigration Reform

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by ABC6 Chief Political Reporter Mark Curtis 

mcurtis@abc6.com

Stepped up law enforcement to keep people from crossing U.S. borders illegally appears to be the key to passing immigration reform in Congress.

Rhode Island's U.S. Senators briefed business leaders Friday, saying perhaps a dozen Senate opponents of the bill may now vote for it, because it provides more security.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) said, "We've made remarkable progress over the last 5 years in terms of stopping the flow of illegals moving into the country from every sort of border area. But we can do better. We will do better."

But there are concerns.

Business leaders - especially those who hire for the state's big summer tourism industry - are worried the cost of verifying immigration status will be passed on to them.

Dale Venturini of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association said, "But we just want to make sure it doesn't create another added burden where we don't even have the technology in place for the government to handle it and we'd have to buy new technology."

The Senators say fees paid by new immigrants will pay for the background checks.

Immigrants will also have to meet school or military obligations, and pay fines before citizenship is considered.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) said, "I think the business community, as well as the immigrant communities, is comfortable that we will improve things significantly, for them."

While the immigration bill is now projected to pass the U.S. Senate, it still faces an uphill vote in the House.

Not everyone is happy about the bill.

Terry Gorman of the group, "Rhode Islanders for Immigration Law Enforcement (RIILE)," said today that he vehemently opposes this bill and says it amounts to amnesty for 11 million illegals already in the U.S.

 

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