Business owner voices opinion on recent Hispanic Immigrant study

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) – A newstudy by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation says for every dollar the state ofArkansas spends on Hispanic immigrants they get seven in return.

The menu at Dog N Suds inParagould is plastered with American Food but might surprise you is who isbehind the business.

"This business has beenaround for the past sixty years but we bought it in 2002", says MariaHernandez.

Maria is from El Salvador,a small country in Central America, and she has lived in the United States forthe past 25 years.

The study also statesArkansas benefits almost four billion dollars a year from Hispanic immigrantworkers.

Maria says she's seen anincrease in the Hispanic population in the small town and with a new law theywould be given the opportunity to achieve goals like she did.

"I think that a newlegislation would help them a lot. There are a lot of Hispanics who are afraidto buy a home or car because of their status, but not only the state of Arkansaswould benefit but the whole country in the long run", Hernandez says.

She is a naturalized citizenand has lived in the different parts of the U.S. but she says like many othershe decided to stay in the town because it feels more like home.

"We have moved around alot. We have lived in Los Angeles and Texas but in reality, Paragould is reallypeaceful and we feel very good here. It's a great place and we have had thechance to raise our kids like we wanted", says Maria.

Her Husband andBrother-in-Law both own their own real estate agencies and she says everyincoming immigrant should try to work as hard as they can to become NaturalizedCitizens.

"If you are not a citizen youcan't help decide in many issues that you would be able to as a citizen. Whenyou vote you are able to voice your opinion and that's how we can make this abetter state, by having our thought to count", says Maria.

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