When President Obama outlined his plan for immigration reform on Tuesday, immigrants living in Seattle were watching closely.
A few of them gathered around the television at One America, which is the state's largest immigrant advocacy group.
"I used to work in the fields in Mexico, making five dollars a day," said Carlos Lopez.
That's why he came to the United States more than two decades ago. He wanted a better life for his family.
After all those years, Lopex knows firsthand just how difficult it is to become a U.S. citizen.
A spokesman for One America confirms, it is a lengthy and complicated process. Generally, citizenship is granted through asylum (refugees escaping persecution or unrest), work visas, or being sponsored by a spouse or family member.
For Lopez and many other immigrants One America works with, none of those routes were an option.
"They bring tears to your eyes, when you hear what folks have to go through. And on top of that, they're vulnerable to being exploited by employers in many cases. It's just not right," said One America Executive Director Rich Stolz.
Rudy Cureno is another immigrant who was paying close attention to the President's proposal on Tuesday.
About 15 years ago, he was deported, sent back to Mexico, and forced to leave his family behind in the U.S.
"It was very hard, just thinking about leaving your kids in the country where they don't have nobody," he said. "It was hard for me just thinking about not being able to come back."
For him, the possibility of an overhaul to the immigration system means never again being torn from his family.
Stolz says that's their biggest concern - keeping families together.
"The value of the family needs to be at the center of this debate," he said.
Not everyone feels the time is right for reform. Several anti-immigration groups have already spoken out against the President's plan.
President Obama's proposal calls for undocumented workers to register with the federal government, pay fines and back taxes, and undergo background checks.
He's calling for quick congressional passage.