Local News

NC Latinos leery of immigration legislation

Posted June 28, 2013

— As the debate over immigration reform shifted to the U.S. House on Friday, some in the country illegally said they don't like the legislation approved by the Senate but aren't hopeful for anything better.

The Senate signed off Thursday on a $46 billion investment in tighter border security, including building another 350 miles of fencing, hiring more than 19,000 border patrol agents and creating an electronic system so employers could verify their workers' immigration status. The bill also would give the roughly 11 million people in the U.S. illegally "provisional immigrant" status that would allow them to become legal residents after 10 years.

"I don't even see this as an immigration reform bill. I see this as a national security bill," Viridiana Martinez said.

Martinez, 26, is among an estimated 325,000 North Carolina residents who are in the country illegally. She said waiting a decade for citizenship is too long.

"There's a lot of people in deportation proceedings right now," she said. "You have a lot of people who have been deported already, so what's going to happen to them and to reunite the families of those that are still here?"

Jose Rico's family came to the U.S. legally 10 years ago when he was 13, but they remained in the country after their visas expired.

"My parents needed to put food on the table for their children, and I feel like any parent would do that," Rico said.

Rico said that, like Martinez, he has concerns about the Senate bill.

Jose Rico, undocumented N.C. resident Decade too long to wait for citizenship, some say

"I'm willing to take the bill because I want my mom to have her papers one day," he said. "I'll take it, but ultimately, I don't like it."

Some Latino advocates support the Senate bill, including the North Carolina Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"The immigration system is broken. This is a good first step. This represents a boost to America's growing economy and will alleviate our members' business needs," the chamber said in a statement.

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has said the House plans to work on its own immigration bill. He plans to meet with his fellow House Republicans in the next few weeks to go over options.

Although younger Latinos remain leery of immigration reform, they say it has given the generation before them some hope.

"It's going to help some people," Martinez said. "My family will be in line to get that. I'm not saying no."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • lopo Jul 2, 2013

    They fail to mention the boader secrity package does not happem until 2017 and congress can stop the funding at anytime. While all illegals including ones in prison get amnesty immediatly. Maybe congress should read these bills before approving them, what a concept, uh?

  • Ex-Republican Jul 1, 2013

    " some in the country illegally said they don't like the legislation approved by the Senate "

    Too bad. If you're here illegally, you don't get a say.

  • Purple and Gold proud Jul 1, 2013

    "They are here illegally and as our guests." meeper

    First of all, they are not guests. They are here illegally which means they are criminals and are not guests. Guests are invited and use the front door, not hop the fence in the dead of night. They are here illegally and should not have any chance of becoming citizens. The fact that illegal immigrants demand citizenship should be a slap in the face for all of the immigrants that obeyed our laws.

  • edtomjr Jul 1, 2013

    "Lol...only someone who can not see with their eyes could NOT form that view. BTW it is not opinion it is a fact something you libs do not deal with well." ncouterbanks69

    Who said I was a liberal? Bc I'm not blatantly racist?

  • so you dont like my opinion ok Jul 1, 2013

    Give them legal status, I am perfectly ok with that but make them pay taxes just like we have to and add on no benefits for 3 years to include food stamps and free medical...

  • so you dont like my opinion ok Jul 1, 2013

    misschris234 - they cant go through the legal process, there is no process, there is no proper way... You should research more...

  • wayneboyd Jul 1, 2013

    I'm confused???! Some of you are saying why deny them the opportunity of coming here and creating a better life for themselves? What's going to happen to your half million dollar piece of real estate that you created from your wealth when you tell me I should be allowed to sit up my single wide mobile home on it and you feed, educate, and medicate my family while I usurp what you've slaved for to help me get to where you are.
    Wealth is not created by location, its created by hard work and managing what you have. A illegal that came here from any country poor will die here poor, 5% of them will be no wealthier when they die than they were when they arrived, unless our government keeps doing what its doing now, robbing working Americans and handing out freebies in exchange for votes. And as long as we keep allowing this to happen, the middle class in America has all but disappeared, and now Washington is looking at the wealthy to take the slack.

  • NiceNSmooth Jul 1, 2013

    Want to be a US citizen then DO IT THE PROPER WAY, the way OUR ancestors did it when they came.

    Oh you mean like all they had to do was just show up at ellis island? wow I bet its that simple now???

  • misschris234 Jul 1, 2013

    "How about we think of them as humans, doing what they can to create a better life for their families?"

    Are you willing to do this at the expense of a better life for YOUR family? Why can't they go through the legal process just like so many others? Nothing is keeping them from doing that.

  • superman Jul 1, 2013

    The law should be either leave the country now or go directly to prison. They should make it very clear if they understand English. Print the law in Spanish and post it.