How do Members of the Local Hispanic Population Feel About Immigration Reform?

May 13, 2006 -- Posted at 3:32 p.m. CDT


JONESBORO, AR -- The 4th annual Cinco de Mayo Festival was held in downtown Jonesboro on Saturday.


This festival gives everyone the opportunity to learn about the culture of Hispanic immigrants to the United States.


However, for those in the local Hispanic community, the topic of immigration reform is a touchy subject.


“Right now, in the situation we’re having, a lot of people are getting scared because they don’t know exactly what will happen,” said immigrant Alicia Martinez.


Many people have entered the United States legally, and have followed the laws of our country.


“You come to this country, you go by the rules of this country… the laws, you pay taxes like everyone else,” said immigrant Jorge Delajarza.


“Those people that have been paying their taxes, and work, and do the best they can do be in this country… I believe that those people pretty much deserve to have a chance here,” said immigrant Ilsia Nehung.


Jorge Delajarza became a United States citizen over 40 years ago.  He entered the country legally, and has been a productive member of society ever since.


“I came to this country and I started listening to the tv in English instead of Spanish, and you learn.  You practice, and you practice, and that’s how you learn the language,” said Delajarza.


“I graduated from Harding University in 1992, then I went back home, and I came back to Jonesboro,” said Nehung.


Many of the immigrants that enter the United States are here legally, and they feel the penalties should be harsher for those who enter the country illegally.


“It will help tremendously the people who have been here for the longest, who have proven to be good citizens,” said Nehung.


As they celebrate their heritage, these proud immigrants feel lucky to be here in the United States.


“You have to be on the other side of the border in order to understand why they are crossing the borders,” said Nehung.


“This is it.  The United States is it.  I mean, I love my country, but I’m an American Citizen now,” said Delajarza.