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Proposed Path To Citizenship Gives Hope To Undocumented Immigrants

Immigrant groups and their supporters stage a protest rally. (Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Immigrant groups and their supporters stage a protest rally. (Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Jim Williams (CBS) Jim Williams
Jim Williams, a native Chicagoan, co-anchors the CBS 2 Chicago Wee...
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(CBS) — A bipartisan group of senators, including Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, has come up with a blueprint to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws.

The plan could lead to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants now living in the United States.

CBS 2’s Jim Williams takes a look at how the new policy could be life-changing for one Chicago area man who has been living in fear.

We’ll call him Tony. He is an undocumented immigrant who came to this country 20 years ago from the Philippines.

“I had no intention of staying here that long, but I found that the city was beautiful, the opportunities are here, so I stayed,” he says.

He is a photographer whose pictures have been published in his native country. Among the luminaries he has photographed are Mayor Emanuel and President Obama.

And yet he lives with fear of deportation.

“I think that’s real for everyone, and it’s real for me. But for myself I have accepted that as a reality of my situation,” Tony says. “It can be tense, especially rumors about raids and all that.”

Tony says his efforts to live in the U.S. legally have fallen short. At one point, he almost married an American. Now he’s hoping Congress will pass the proposal that was announced Monday, giving immigrants a path to citizenship – and him a new life.

“I’m keeping my fingers, my toes, everything crossed that this will come to pass,” he says.

There will be intense lobbying against any changes in the law, some of it from the so-called Illinois Minuteman Project.

“Every single illegal alien is supposed to be handcuffed, arrested and deported,” one of the group’s Chicago leaders, Carl Segvich, tells CBS 2’s Mike Parker.

Segvich is also the 11th Ward GOP committeeman. He is unhappy with the U.S. Senate Republicans who have joined Democrats in the immigration law overhaul. He says they’re supporting “anarchy.”