Immigrants React to the State of the Union
“Now is the time to get it done,” President Obama said on immigration reform during his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, asking Congress to send him a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months to sign.
The stakes are high for Obama, and however, the specifics as to what a comprehensive immigration reform bill will entail is what concerns undocumented immigrants like Manuel Guerra Casas from Mexico.
“What I missed from Obama was his great opportunity to engage Congress and to explain more details of immigration reform,” Casas told Campus Progress. “He always speaks in generals.”
In Obama’s speech he mentioned some key principles of reform would include: border security, legal immigration reform and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already residing in the country. He also added that this new set of reforms will mean passing a background check, paying taxes and a penalty, learning English, and “going to the back of the line.”
“I agree with how he plans to enforce it,” says Carmen Arce, a Miami, Fla. high school student. Arce an aspiring immigration lawyer, does not agree with all the current barriers to citizenship.
“I do not think it is much of a necessity for immigrants to learn English because there are millions of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. that do not speak English, but are very intelligent and are capable of following the rules, such as paying taxes, just like any other U.S. citizen,” Arce told Campus Progress.
Immigration wasn't picked up again until Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) delivered the official GOP response. Rubio briefly touched on the subject, sharing that a permanent solution is needed on the immigration system.
Rubio, a Cuban-American has been projected as: “The Republican Savior,” who can gain the Hispanic votes because of his background. Rubio’s parents immigrated to the U.S., where his father worked as a bartender and his mother as an associate at K-mart, priding himself as being of the middle class.
“To me he made more sense of immigration,” said Casas. “His parents are immigrants and his general message is to engage and win the trust of Latinos … because the bi-partisan way is the way to go with immigration and having Senator Marco Rubio on board is a key player to have.”
Rubio claimed this evening he would support immigration reform despite, his colleagues in the House like Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho 1st District) suggesting they would vote down a pathway to citizenship.
“People leave their countries to give their children a better future and they should all be noticed,” Arce said. “My dad didn't do any harm to this country, why take him away? These people just need an opportunity and support, that I am pretty sure Barack Obama will give them.”
Melissa Adan is a reporter for Campus Progress.
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