Phoenix officials optimistic with immigration reform gains - New York News

Phoenix officials optimistic with immigration reform gains

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PHOENIX -

Before Tuesday's speech in Las Vegas, the president met with leaders from around the country about immigration reform -- including two valley mayors.

We caught up with them just after their flight landed back here in Phoenix.

Their mood -- very upbeat and optimistic. They said for the first time in years they believe a comprehensive immigration reform bill will be passed.

"The president said it today, the time for words is over now, it's a time for action I think he's exactly right," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton.

"I'm excited about the conversation at least we're having the conversation, we haven't had that conversation in a very very long time," said Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers.

"I do feel that the stars are aligning. I do feel that we have both political sides aspiring to come together," said State Rep. Anna Tovar, Arizona democrat.

They were all smiles when they landed at Sky Harbor. Stanton, Rogers, and Tovar all got a chance to talk with President Obama before his speech on immigration reform.

"I told him I was really happy that he was taking the lead on this issue and he told me to keep politely encouraging our two senators from Arizona to move in the right direction," said Stanton.

Monday, a bipartisan group of senators including Senator John McCain and Senator Jeff Flake unveiled their plan for immigration reform -- a plan that includes a pathway to citizenship, but is also contingent on first securing the border.

"I'll give you a little straight talk. Look at the last election. Look at the last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote, which we think should be ours, for a variety of reasons, and we've got to understand that," said Sen. John McCain, Arizona republican.

"I think we must remember comprehensive immigration reform is not just about political gains, it's about truly helping the people," said Tovar.

"I think both parties are realizing it's important to do the right thing, pass smart reform and move beyond this issue," said Stanton.

And though the president says for the most part both proposals on the table are pretty similar, republican Senator Marco Rubio -- who is part of that bipartisan group in favor of reform – is making one discrepancy very clear.

He believes border security and enforcement must come first ahead of green cards or a path to citizenship.

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