Local Politics

Immigration inaction frustrates many in Wilson

Posted October 6, 2014
Updated October 8, 2014

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— Latinos make up about 9 percent of the population in North Carolina – nearly double the percentage in 2000 – and many of them have settled in rural communities across the state.

In Wilson County, for example, Hispanic immigrants for years have played a vital role in the farming economy, harvesting tobacco, cotton and other crops. Now, some have opened their own tiendas, carnicerias and other businesses.

Despite Latino contributions to the area economy, some Wilson residents see immigration as an issue of illegal actions and fear the impact of immigration on their community.

"They're driving without a driver's license, they're driving without insurance, and they're driving a car that maybe has not been inspected. So, in that way, they are causing harm," Dot Eagles said while eating Sunday lunch with her husband and two grandsons at Dick's Hot Dogs in Wilson.

"I get frustrated, as I think a lot of people do, regardless of what side of the argument you're on," said Tartt Thomas, a local lawyer who has clients who are in the U.S. illegally.

"They're good people. They're here trying to make a living. They're here trying to care for their children," Thomas said. "They're just kind of pushed to the fringe."

Vicenta Rivera Carino, came to Wilson illegally from Mexico City 17 years ago. She now has a visa.

"That's why they're here," Rivera Carino said of her fellow immigrants. "They want a better life. I know where I come from, life is tough."

She said she would like to see Congress offer people like her a path to citizenship "if they're working hard and doing what the law requires."

Congress hasn't mustered the appetite to pass immigration reform, and President Barack Obama said he plans to wait until after the Nov. 4 election to announce action on his own.

Jose Linares, whose parents worked in nearby farm fields for years before they were able to open a Mexican meat market in Sims, said the U.S. spends too much money on trying to deport people.

Rafel Aguado illegally entered the U.S. nearly 30 years as a desperate teenager. Now a legal resident, he said he's tired of hearing the same old arguments on immigration reform.

"I would like to see if they can do what they've been talking about for the last 15, 20 years," Aguado said. "I'm not saying they need to open the borders, but they need to try to help the people that's already in this country."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Barbara Sheppard Oct 7, 2014
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    I have no problem with Latinos coming here. I understand they are looking for a better life, and I don't blame them one bit for wanting this. The only problem I have is that they come here illegally, and stay here illegally, and our nation supports them in being here illegally. What incentive do they have in becoming citizens or legalized? None. Why should they? They get everything they need even though they are illegal. Even though it creates the problems that are mentioned in this story. It also makes my citizenship worthless and it is a slap in the face of those who have gone through the process of obtaining citizenship. What is the point of obtaining citizenship when you can get the same privileges for just coming across the border and staying?

  • enigma1469 Oct 7, 2014

    The majority of Americans want them to go home.

  • Rebelyell55 Oct 7, 2014

    This story just goes to show, that many have been here long enough to have gotten citizenship. Many were here when ammesity was given to them years ago, they just didn't follow up or didn't want to be documented. Nor did they want to be citzens. They just want to live here. If they were offered again, many still wouldn't take it. They don't want to pay taxes in their own country they certanly don't want to pay taxes here. This is one of the biggest problems facing any changes, yet it the main thing that needs to be addressed, get them documented in some way so we know who is here. The 2nd is the slow process in removing the crimminal element, not just for being here illegal, but for committing other crimes felony that should send them back.

  • disgusted2010 Oct 7, 2014

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    As long as the left wing nuts like you go with them.

  • disgusted2010 Oct 7, 2014

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    Still trolling I see.

  • disgusted2010 Oct 7, 2014

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    Absolutely correct, our biggest problem is the liberals who are giving this country away and think that the "right" will continue to pay taxes to support their insane ideas forever.

  • lopo Oct 7, 2014

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    Ill tell them at church, as Jesus said, give rome what belongs to Rome and to God what belongs to God. Otherwords, obey the law of the land. illegals are Illegal.

  • Bullcity34 Oct 7, 2014

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    Ummmm he did look at the numbers

  • Bullcity34 Oct 7, 2014

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    Oh look another attack on religion by the left. Got any other same Ole rhetoric you spit out constantly? How about the race card yall are good at that

  • NiceNSmooth Oct 7, 2014

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    Please make sure you tell them all that at church on Sunday