Area advocates on both sides of the immigration debate had something in common Friday – their dislike of the immigration-reform bill put together this week by a bipartisan group of senators and the White House. Depending on who is asked, the bill either fails to do enough to protect hardworking undocumented workers, or it penalizes tax-paying American citizens. Immigrant-rights groups say the bill attacks the long-standing family-based visa application system and deprives immigrants of a key support network. “This bill proposes to do things that tries to control immigrants in very unrealistic ways,” said Daniel Huang, a policy advocate with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles. “Unless it’s amended drastically, it will be something that hurts the immigrant community more than it helps.” To reduce so-called chain immigration, the bill makes it more difficult for citizens to bring in family members other than their spouse or minor children. It also proposes to cap the number of visas given to parents of U.S. citizens at 40,000 annually. “We know that people are not going to stop wanting to be with their family members,” Huang said. “All they’re really going to do is create a new category of undocumented immigrants.” Area representatives appeared to tread carefully on the subject. Rep. David Dreier, R-San Dimas, stressed in a statement that he would not support the Senate-White House compromise if it includes amnesty for the nation’s estimated 10 million to 12 million illegal immigrants. Many immigration hard-liners consider any path to citizenship for those already in the country illegally to be a form of amnesty. Calls to Dreier’s office to clarify whether he sees the bill’s legalization plan as amnesty were not returned. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Pasadena, called the bill a “promising breakthrough” on a controversial issue. “How we deal with people who are already here without rewarding their illegal entry is very tough,” Schiff said, adding that be believes “making it a long and earned process of legalization is the right approach. A lot of the details \ are going to be very important.” Schiff said the Senate will likely have an easier time reaching a compromise than the House of Representatives. “A lot of the conservatives in the House are very dug in,” he said. “Anything short of deportation of the 12 million people that are here is going to meet with opposition.” Activists in favor of tighter border controls criticized the proposal as being too lenient on people who have violated immigration laws. Reform is not needed, said Andy Ramirez, chairman of Friends of the Border Patrol in Covina. Existing laws need to be enforced, he said. With the bill, “Illegal immigrants get the gold mine and Americans get the shaft,” Ramirez said. “It basically is going to make Uncle Sam the new coyote.” To address those already in the country illegally, the bill allows them to apply for a green card under the merit-based system provided they are employed and pay $5,000 in fees and penalties. Ramirez criticized the Dream Act component of the bill, which stipulates that immigrants under the age of 30 who arrive in the United States as minors are eligible to receive their green card after three years rather than eight. “You are rewarding lawbreakers,” he said, noting that such individuals will be eligible for perks such as in-state tuition at public universities. On the flip side, others said the proposal was not doing enough for immigrants. The bill does not create a path toward permanent residency for guest workers, which they deserve, said Randy Jurado Ertll, executive director of El Centro De Accion Social in Pasadena. “They want them to work here for two years and then go back to their native country,” he said. Legislators must craft something that “would help individuals obtain permanent residency and come out of the shadows so that people don’t have to live in fear.” Without legal status, those workers will continue to be exploited by employers and receive less than minimum wage, he added. “Neither party wants to take responsibility for \, but both parties need to resolve it,” Jurado Ertll said. “It’s only going to get worse if they don’t.” Staff Writer Fred Ortega contributed to this story. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!