National Immigration Legislation Effects Region 8 Hispanics

MARCH 30, 2006 -- POSTED AT 10:00 P.M. CST

JONESBORO, AR -- Over the past week, hundreds of thousands of people around the country have protested possible changes in immigration law. At issue is one bill, with 2 different versions. One would make is easier for immigrants already in the U.S. to gain legal status, while an opposing bill is looking to make illegal immigration a misdemeanor.

We all are immigrants in one way or another. All of our ancestors migrated from other countries and Alex Lorenzona, one Region 8 Hispanic, says that the Hispanic immigrants today aren't any different. In fact, he says illegal immigrants are often given a negative connotation.

"They don't come here to make this country bad. They come here to make this country better," says Lorenzona.

 So what does the Hispanic population do for this region? A lot according to Lorenzona.

Jonesboro is growing a lot and we need all the people. We need a lot of people doing construction and most of the Hispanic people do that. If those people go back to their country, what are we going to do?” says Lorenzona.

 He says the citizenship process is very difficult and costly, but he says the Hispanic culture hopes that will all change with new legislation. That is if the right bill passes.

“That is going to affect a lot of the economy for the United States because all those people are still going to be here, but they're not going to be doing anything because they are afraid of the government,” says Lorenzona.

Lorenzona has some strong opinions concerning America and our history with immigration. He brought up the Berlin Wall in Germany , something Americans helped to bring down. But he says we're creating a double standard by building the wall between the U.S. and Mexico border.

"That's not freedom because they're keeping everybody separate. They go to another country to destroy one and they're now building one in their own house," says Lorenzona.

It's looking like it might be a drawn out process. There is a growing belief on Capitol Hill that political concerns will delay a compromise between the House and Senate versions of the bill, pushing the issue back until after the November elections.