Illegal Yakima worker: 'Right now is the right moment'

Illegal Yakima worker: 'Right now is the right moment'
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A renewed battle over immigration reform will have a lasting impact in the Yakima Valley. The bipartisan plan introduced in the U.S. Senate could give thousands of local undocumented workers a chance to stay legally.

Horacio Campos is among the millions of people living in this country illegally.

"We're trying to reach the American Dream, but we haven't reached the American Dream because we don't have documents," said Campos.

Horacio has been here for more than a decade; he has his own food business, but hasn't been able to get a green card.

"We tried before and we went to see an immigration lawyer. He told us the only chance would be through immigration reform," said Campos.

The chance could be more likely as a bipartisan proposal in the U.S. Senate would make it easier for undocumented workers like Horacio to be here legally.

Key provisions include strengthening the border, allowing more guest workers, tougher verification of the legal status of employees and creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.

President Obama supports the changes.

"We have an immigration system that's out of date and badly broken," said President Obama.

U.S. Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA4) recognizes something needs to be done. However, he thinks the Senate's proposal falls short for Central Washington.

Hastings issued a statement Tuesday saying; "I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in a bipartisan manner to develop and move forward legislation that makes the long-overdue changes to our immigration system that are necessary to preserving our security, economy, and way of life."

The proposal already faces opposition from people who say it would provide amnesty for those who broke the law and entered the county illegally.

"When you reward that by granting them benefits, education, legal status or total amnesty, any of those, you're just encouraging more people to come," said Grass Roots of Yakima Valley spokesperson Bob West.

"Right now is the right moment," said Campos. "We are at this point in time that we have to support each other and unite to get immigration reform."

Like the path to citizenship, the path to immigration reform is not an easy one.

Yet, undocumented immigrants like Horacio have hope that one day they'll be able to live in this country without fear and provide for their families.

Washington's agriculture industry provides jobs to about 160,000 people. Thousands are believed to be here illegally.