Schwarzenegger hosts forum on immigration reform

May 1, 2013 at 1:45 PM

LOS ANGELES, May 1 (UPI) -- Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger argued for immigration reform at a Los Angeles forum, using his own story as an example.

Schwarzenegger said he was a typical immigrant, a young Austrian with dreams that could only be achieved in the United States, the Los Angeles Times reported. He hosted an event Tuesday at the University of Southern California's Arnold Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy.

"These are all very hardworking people. They have a dream. They want to make their dream a reality," he said of the 11 million illegal immigrants now believed to be in the United States.

The speakers included Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., who were both in the Gang of Eight who drafted an immigration reform bill, and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the son of a Mexican immigrant.

Villaraigosa said providing a path to citizenship for illegal residents will help his city's economy because many of them own small businesses. Bennet said the bill needs as many votes as possible in the Senate to increase support in the House.

"I really worry that if we don't get this done now, it's going to be a very long time before we get this done, and it'll be one more self-inflicted wound holding American workers back," he said.

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