Locals Weigh In on President's Immigration Speech

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

May 16, 2006

Some of the Hispanic community in Charlottesville is weighing in on President Bush's immigration speech from last night. The people that spoke to the Charlottesville Newsplex said that overall, the speech was positive.

"He had a solution to problems, to a current problem, which is what we need--a solution. Not more criticism," said local, Fernando Garay.

It's one of the reasons Garay was pleased with the president's prime time speech last night. And apparently, he's not alone in the Hispanic community.

"We can see in the president's mind that he has changed a little bit the idea about getting the immigrants a chance to become American citizens, which before we didn't see that," said resident, Jaidy Polania.

Part of the president's immigration plan involves a guest worker program and an eventual chance at citizenship for most of the estimated 12 million immigrants who are in the country illegally, which Garay believes is a good thing.

"I think it's very fair that people are permitted to obtain citizenship, if they have been living in this country, even though they came here illegally. If they've demonstrated good character, no crime, if they have been paying their taxes for over 3,4 years," he said.

The core of the president's plan also called for the temporary stationing of 6,000 National Guard troops along the southern Mexico border. Some immigrants, like Ana Galvez , are not sure if the move will keep immigrants out, but she believes it will decrease the number of people that die trying to cross over.

"I know people want to come and they're going to come, so I hope they can save more lives," she said.

Whether the full proposal will be put into action is still undecided, but certain immigrants do agree that something needs to be done.

"Even though I'm an immigrant, I know every country has to control the amount of people who has to come in the country," said Polania.

The proposal is getting mixed reactions among lawmakers. Some are saying the National Guard is already stretched too thin and should not be patrolling the border. Others in congress are also not happy with the citizenship plan, which they say rewards those who break the law.

Today senators did vote to reject a Republican attempt to focus only on a border crackdown, before deciding what to do with illegal immigrants in the U.S.

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