Face of immigration debate: One man's long journey back to St. Paul


Putting a face on the broader immigration bill debate, the Star Tribune profiles a St. Paul man who was reunited with his U.S.-born wife and son this spring – 10 years after he was deported.

Miguel Vasquez, 54, came to America in 1989 from Mexico, on a tourist visa, which expired, the newspaper reports. At that point, he was among the 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally – a population that is the subject of heated debate in Congress and across the nation.

Except that Vasquez did what many immigrants do not – he came forward to authorities and turned himself in, the Star Tribune reports. He was deported and spent a decade "in line," trying to work his way back to his wife and his life in the United States. He and his wife and 13-year-old son were reunited at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in April, the Star Tribune reports.

The 844-page bill would create a 13-year path to citizenship for most of America's 11 million undocumented immigrants. It also includes provisions that would boost border security and increase a cap on visas for high-skilled workers. And it would create a new visa program for low-skilled workers, such as farm laborers.

The immigration bill won bipartisan support in the Senate late last week but appears unlikely to be approved by the House. Debate in that chamber will start taking shape next week, ABC News reports. “The Senate bill, in my opinion, repeats the mistakes made by the Congress in 1986. It gives 11 million people a legal status almost immediately,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte told an audience recently, ABC reported.

An estimated 75,000-90,000 people in Minnesota who are in the country illegally could be affected by the legislation, KSTP reported. DFL Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken supported the measure. It's vocal opponents include Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn.

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