East Texans Talk About Immigration Bill

In East Texas, there are mixed opinions on whether congress should make it easier for illegal immigrants to become citizens. East Texas has a strong Hispanic community that continues to grow every year. Every morning, the streets East of downtown Tyler are filled with Hispanics looking for day work. Some are U.S. citizens, others are not.

"These people come here to work, to make it better for their homes at home," said Juan Pena, Day Worker. "Some of them got families over there and they send money over there." Tom Mullins with the Tyler Economic Development Council says the local economy would suffer if Congress passed a law, sending all illegal immigrants back home.

"If you go through a lot of the manufacturing distribution facilities here in Tyler and Smith County you see there are is a large number of Hispanic workers, and employers like them," said Tom Mullins, President, CEO of Tyler Economic Development Council. "They are hard working. If you take that element off those floors, off those manufacturing and distribution floors, they have to be replaced by somebody or the production process will be cut back." Others say those who want to work in the United States should obey the law.

"They should apply for immigration in the United States and do it legally and come here legally like everyone else does," said Gordon Thomas Cartwright, for Immigration Bill. Juan Ordorica and his family applied for citizenship shortly after moving to East Texas from Mexico. They now own two restaurants in Tyler.

"People work over there, and what they get paid over there in a week, they can make here in a day," said Juan Ordorica, Owner of Taqueria El Lugar. "There's a lot of people that want to work that really want to improve themselves and want to help out, and I don't think it's fair for them to get sent back." Others agree.

"If they have the courage and stamina to get here and work and are willing to work, they should be allowed to stay," said Shelley Judd, against Immigration Bill.

"I do feel like they take jobs away from you know citizens, but in the same voice I would say they do a lot of jobs that others wouldn't want to do for less pay," said Felecia Pettigrew, undecided on Immigration Bill. There are mixed emotions on a topic that has the whole country talking.

Molly Reuter, reporting. mreuter@kltv.com