Reaction in the city is mixed to the leaked draft of President Obama's Immigration Reform Bill. NY1's Mahsa Saeidi filed the following report.
New Yorkers in East Harlem say immigration reform is badly needed. Most welcomed reports that the White House is drafting a bill that creates an eight-year path for undocumented immigrants to become legal U.S. residents. According to USA Today, the bill would create a new "lawful prospective immigrant" visa.
"This is a country that's based on immigrants, it was built off of immigrants and i believe they should be given a fair chance like everybody else," said one New Yorker.
"A lot of these people is hard working honest people, they should have the same opportunities that we have," said another New Yorker.
"They should be legal, they should be legalized," noted a third New Yorker.
USA Today reports that the president's bill would require applicants to pass a criminal background check, submit biometric information, and pay fees. The bill would also require businesses to verify the immigration status of new hires within four years and it would provide more funding to secure the border.
Although the White House says it's not ready to propose any legislation just yet it says it will be ready if Congress does not act.
"Let's strengthen our borders. Let's enforce this on companies that are gaming the system. Let's make sure there's an earned path to citizenship provided people learn English, pay their back taxes, have a criminal background check," said White House Chief Of Staff Denis McDonough.
Not all New Yorkers agree.
"I do think it would be a bad idea, basically we need to help our people first," said one New Yorker.
"They take away from us, people who need jobs," said another New Yorker.
However, Gabriel Vargas, whose family comes from Ireland and Poland, said immigrants actually help the economy.
"They are taking jobs that we wouldn't take, they're doing cleaning jobs, housekeeping jobs," Vargas noted.
Some Republicans have said that the bill would be dead on arrival and questioned how the idea became public in the first place. They say the document leak indicates the president is not interested in bi-partisan cooperation.