Hispanics in Region 8 Respond to Possible Changes in Immigration Law

January 8, 2004  — Posted at 5:21 p.m.

JONESBORO — Approximately 10 thousand Hispanics reside in Northeast Arkansas, and the majority of them are farmers or construction workers.

Benjamin Sanchez, with "El Hispanico " newspaper in Jonesboro says Hispanics choose to come to the U.S. because they can easily find work, but their stays are often short-lived, and they hardly obtain American citizenship.

"They still like to have their roots and their properties and family in Mexico, and Hispanics are usually very family oriented," said Sanchez.

President Bush is looking to help Hispanics even further. He's asking congress to give legal status, as temporary workers, to millions of people who are now in the U.S. illegally. His plan would allow foreigners to enter the country to accept jobs, if employers can't find any Americans to take those jobs.

Benjamin Sanchez thinks Bush could get even more Hispanic votes in the next election with this proposal.

"It's politics basically, but there could be something good that comes out of it anyway," said Sanchez.

The Teamsters Union in Arkansas doesn't think any good is coming from this. A representative  told K-8 News they don't like it.

"The President is opening the borders and taking away more of American jobs and he's trying to get Latino votes," said a Teamsters Representative.

Bush's plan is not being embraced by all Latinos. A spokeswoman for the League of United Latin American Citizens calls Bush's plan a ``temporary band-aid'', not major reform.