Bush Immigration Proposal Good News for Some - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/8/04 - Tyler

Bush Immigration Proposal Good News for Some

The President's proposal would allow some 8 million illegal immigrants to obtain legal status as temporary workers. President Bush outlined his plan yesterday, allowing employers in the U.S. to hire illegal immigrants, as long as employers show they cannot find American workers to fill the jobs. The immigrant workers would receive a temporary 3-year visa, which they can renew one time for another three years. The undocumented workers would get guaranteed wage and employment rights. After their visa expires, workers can apply for residency, but they get no preferential treatment. The proposal means a lot to Mexicans looking for work in Tyler.

It's a scene you might have driven past in the morning: dozens of men gathering together hoping the time they spend waiting will pay off.

"We need a chance too, so we can get some money and take care of our family," Carlos Gonzalez said. "We got a family over here and we got a family in Mexico too, you know."

They say they don't want government aid; they just want the opportunity to work. And that is precisely the dilemma President Bush's new proposal hopes to address. The men standing in a parking lot along N. Beckham wouldn't say if they are here illegally. Regardless, the President's announcement does give them hope.

"It makes me feel good because there's a lot of people over here," Gonzalez said. "They ain't got no papers, they ain't got even an I.D. or nothing like that, you know."

These men are willing to do any type of work: plumbing, roofing, painting. But many of them come from professional backgrounds in Mexico. Some are lawyers, artists, radio DJs, and even doctors. But they say the competition in Mexico is too stiff.

One man calls himself Mr. Roofing, leaving behind his days as a radio announcer in Mexico. Here, he may wait days before getting a manual labor job that pays less than $4 an hour.

"Everybody, you know, is working real hard," he said. "Nobody is bad people. I think is good people, but appreciative, because I'm feeling real good."

All of the men are hopeful this proposal will result in more work they can obtain legally.

Currently, a maximum of 140,000 green cards can be given out each year. President Bush says he will urge Congress to increase that number. If the proposal passes, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would head up the new immigration program.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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