BOISE -- All this past week, and into the Cinco de Mayo weekend, people in Idaho have tried to make their voices heard on immigration reform.
This is a great opportunity to let our legislators know that we're here, and that we would like to see fair immigration reform, said Rebeca Arteaga, who helped organize a march for immigration reform.
Arteaga was born in Mexico, but immigrated to Burley, with her family, when she was six. This is my home, she said.
She's upset that a bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill would make it harder for the families of people who immigrated legally, to get permanent residence visas or green cards.
We just want them to realize that we want families united, said Arteaga.
Rep. Raul Labrador (R - Idaho) appeared on KTVB's Viewpoint Sunday morning. He says he's working on another bipartisan immigration bill in the House.
The debate and discussion is going to be quite fierce, said Labrador.
The legislation would have a longer wait for citizenship, but Labrador didn't say exactly how the bill might handle citizenship for families of immigrants. But he does say, contrary to what immigration activists would hope, that's not the negotiation sticking point anyway.
Everybody thinks that it's the pathway to citizenship that's going to kill the immigration bill, or it's going to be some other issue, said Labrador. I think what could eventually kill immigration reform, is the cost of immigration reform.
Labrador says there would be significant costs for more border enforcement, expanding the guest worker program, and providing health insurance for those legal workers. But, he hopes his colleagues can understand that guest workers help drive this country's agriculture, and help pay for social programs.
Immigration actually brings about more economic growth, said Labrador. He also says, this is a complicated issue that needs well-thought-out reform. Good immigration reform is in the best interest of the American people. It will lead to growth and productivity. But, if we don't do anything to fix the current immigration system, if all we do is grant 11 million people amnesty, we will be here 10 years from now, talking about another 11 million people that have crossed our borders.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) says the Senate's immigration reform legislation won't make it through the House, unless it includes more border security.
Labrador says the House will unveil their own immigration reform package, but he doesn't know if it will make it to the President's desk. He says though, if reform does happen, it has to happen this year, since Congress won't tackle immigration in an election year. He says, we should know by August if it will happen.
Here in Idaho, Hispanics are Idaho's largest minority group, at 11.5%. And, according to census data, the Hispanic population in Idaho is growing faster than the general population.