AUSTIN -- A state bill filed Wednesday morning is pushing for immigration reform. It comes on the heels of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Obama discussed his commitment to change; saying it's time to pass major legislation paving the way to citizenship.
A joint poll released by Republican and Democratic firms shows 77 percent of voters support the change.
On Wednesday State Representatives Rafael Anchia and Ana Hernandez Luna filed a bill to take the issue before Texas lawmakers.
The three-page bill calls for a roadmap to citizenship. There are about 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States. Rep. Anchia says giving them a way to citizenship would stimulate the economy.
Anchia says more people would open bank accounts, get college degrees, buy homes and create new businesses and jobs.
Representative Luna calls herself a prime example. She came to the U.S. from Mexico as a young girl.
“I went on to graduate from high school at 16, go to college, went to law school and [was] elected into the Texas House at age 27. I know none of that would have been possible without [the] immigration reform of 1986,” said Rep. Luna.
The bill Luna and Anchia filed outlines steps toward citizenship. It calls for an employment vertification system which would penalize employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants.
It would also include a health and criminal background check, proof of employment and payment of taxes. Furthermore, to get a probationary legal status, immigrants must also learn English and American civics.
The representatives are now taking the bill to other lawmakers at the State Capitol for support, and they say they're sending copies to President Obama and other national lawmakers.
They want their bill entered into the Congressional Record and for Texas to become a leader on the movement toward immigration reform.