State of the City

Mayor Greg Stanton delivered his inaugural State of the City Address at the Phoenix Convention Center Wednesday, April 11.

Allison Hurtado/AFN

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton stood near the front of a large crowd in Las Vegas Tuesday as President Barack Obama announced his plans to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority.

Obama’s plan called for increased security at the border, a path to citizenship for those illegal aliens living in the U.S. already, and an improved legal immigration system.

“I met with President Obama before his speech and I told him I was proud of him,” said Stanton in a statement. “He encouraged me to keep encouraging our senators to move forward on immigration reform. I look forward to working on a new beginning on immigration, including border security, a pathway to citizenship, the DREAM Act and modernizing our visa system for high-tech companies. I’m optimistic we will find a solution that will power our economy forward with a talented and diverse workforce that makes our city competitive on a global level.”

Stanton was invited by the White House to be there for the announcement. City Councilman Michael Nowakowski also made the trip along with the mayor of Avondale, Marie Lopez Rogers, and several other mayors from across the country.

The President’s announcement came after a bipartisan group, including senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, released their framework for comprehensive immigration reform. The bipartisan group’s four basic pillars include creating a tough but fair path to citizenship for those already in the U.S., reforming the legal immigration system to recognize characteristics that will help build the economy, creating an effective employment verification system, and establishing an improved process for admitting future workers to serve the nation’s workforce needs.

“I appreciate the President’s support for our bipartisan effort on comprehensive immigration reform,” McCain said in a statement. “While there are some differences in our approaches to this issue, we share the belief that any reform must recognize America as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. We should all agree that border security and enforcement is particularly important in order to ensure that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the 1986 immigration reform. The road ahead will not be easy, but I am cautiously optimistic that working together, we can find common ground and move forward on this vitally important issue.”

The President said during his statement that he was facing this issue now because the differences concerning what must be done are dwindling. He feels confident that immigration reform will happen soon.

Kyrsten Sinema, who was recently elected to represent the newly-formed District 9 in Congress, was named to an ad-hoc immigration whip group led by Rep. Luis Gutierrez and Rep. Diana DeGette.

“Arizona is ground zero for this issue — and inaction in our nation’s Legislature has affected our communities for far too long,” Sinema said in a statement. “What we need is a Congress who will demonstrate the moral courage to work past partisan ideology and find the critical common ground to put these solutions in place once and for all... I look forward to sitting down with anyone who will work toward a secure border, a market-based approach, a fair path to citizenship, and solutions that are fair to the American taxpayer.”

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