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California challenges Washington, D.C. with own immigration bill


09:00, December 05, 2011

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. state of California has challenged Washington, D.C. with its own immigration reform bill to allow one million illegal immigrants to live and work in the state.

The unprecedented move is included in a new bill titled the California Opportunity and Prosperity Act.

On Friday, California State Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes filed a proposal for a ballot initiative with the state attorney general's office for the so-called California Opportunity and Prosperity Act.

The measure would allow illegal aliens who have resided in the state for four years to simply pay a fee and agree to learn English to be allowed to live and work in California legally.

In order to get the proposal on the ballot, which is similar to amnesty in California, supporters will need to collect the 504,760 signatures from registered voters. It is now hard to predict whether they can collect the necessary signatures.

Assemblyman Fuentes said in a statement: "I hope this shows Washington, D.C., that if they fail to act, California will take the lead on this critical issue."

According to The Sacramento Bee, a local newspaper, Fuentes described the act as a "moderate, common-sense approach" to immigration reform.

However, Tim Donnelly, a Republican state assemblyman, described it as an attempt to skirt the law.

"There's a proper process for coming to this country," Donnelly said. "Why don't you respect that?"

Supporters said that the state reportedly could get more than 300 million dollars in new tax revenue if the bill becomes law.

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