Immigration Summit With Congressman Ted Yoho (Long Version)
FAIRFIELD - The immigration reform bill that would grant what many call the american dream to roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants is now awaiting a vote on the senate floor and has many people talking. Even right here in North Central Florida. A local immigration group held a summit to talk about the reform with congressman Ted Yoho.
This summit comes after a months-long debate in the national media about comprehensive immigration reform. The outcome of these disussions will determine the future of nearly 11.5 million undocumented immigrants. And after today's gathering, I learned it's a topic people have mixed feelings about.
Candy Herrera who was formerly an undocumented immigrant said the last immigration movement is what gave her the right to stay in this country. "Through the last major immigration reform in 1986, that's the way that i gained my legal status... Because my grandfather filed for that and he claimed my mother and I," Herrera said.
Herrera is now in graduate school at the University of Florida, fighting to keep her dream alive. She's hoping like in 1986 when reagan was president, that congress can come together and grant the american dream to some of the 11 million undocumented people out there.
Paul Ortiz an Associate Professor of History at the University of Florida is part of that fight. "Because the phrase, we are a nation of immigrants... Is another way of saying, we can accomplish anything if we just roll up our sleeves and get to work," Ortiz said.
This weekend the Gainesville Interfaith Alliance for Immigrant Justice decided to do something about it by hosting an immigration summit and inviting congressman Ted Yoho. Yoho talked to a group of more than 100 people. He explained to the crowd that he is not against immigration but doesn't agree with what the bill entails. Others like Kate agreeed with Yoho. She said, "I want to say, our constitution is based on individual rights, and group rights and ethic politics is a dangerous thing and our constitution is not based on that. For example, we will not vote for you as a Hispanic block if you don't give us what we want."
Yoho said he doesn't believe this bill is the solution to the problem, but that another solution is needed. Yoho added, "We can get a good program in here for immigrants that want to come over to have the opportunity so that they can decide down the road if they want to move into a legal status or if they just want the opportunity to come back and forth."
In the 844 pages of the senate bill there are many guidelines to be met in order to build a pathway to citizenship for immigrants. Some of those requirements are learning english, having american civic knowledge and not having any felonies or crimes on their record.
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