Legal Immigrants React to Illegal Immigration Proposal - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/9/04 - Tyler

Legal Immigrants React to Illegal Immigration Proposal

Legal Hispanic immigrants have mixed feelings about President Bush's immigration proposal. The new plan would make it legal for illegal immigrants to work in the U.S. with a temporary visa. One Tyler ISD 4th grade bilingual teacher likes the idea that the proposal provides another chance for illegal immigrants, though he doesn't agree with the way they came to the U.S. in the first place.

"This is a great opportunity," Norberto Hernandez said. "Everyone deserves an opportunity. It's the American dream."

Maricela Aguilera, owner of Gonzalez Grocery and Video in Tyler, says illegal immigrants with temporary visas must be monitored closely to make sure they are actually working.

"I would be against it, before it happened," Aguilera said. "Instead of them getting a green card and going to work, they turn around and went and asked for all this aid that the government's got."

Both immigrants feel illegal immigrants can fill a void in the work force. Hernandez says TISD recruited him from Mexico because the district couldn't find enough bilingual teachers in the U.S. Aguilera says she has a hard time finding workers for her store.

Tyler Immigration Attorney Natalie Fletcher says the new proposal is good news for illegal immigrants who have children going to school here, only if they can successfully apply for residency after their 6-year maximum stay expires. Otherwise, she says, having to return to their home country would be disruptive to their lives.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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