Pine Belt immigrants speak on their lives across the border - WDAM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Pine Belt immigrants speak on their lives across the border

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

As Washington tries to come up with a new way to deal with immigration, one can't help but wonder why thousands of immigrants migrate to the United States?

"We're not here because we want to be, we're here for a great need," said immigrant, Pedro Hernandez. "A better life for our family, our children."

There are more than 11,000,000 undocumented immigrants in the U.S., and an estimated 45,000 of those illegal immigrants live in Mississippi, and hundreds of them live their life across the border in the Pine Belt.

"I came to this country for a dream, a goal, an illusion, a prosperous and better life," said Pedro.

Although these men crossed the border for an opportunity, there are some things they can't do since they are illegally here.

"We don't come to take away anything from anyone. We want an opportunity, and we want to be seen that way," said immigrant, Ernesto Martinez. "Many times some of the difficulties like not having a license or papers, that limits you from having something better. We're hoping that this will change, and the people will give themselves a chance to get to know Latinos better."

Along with being limited to what they can do, according to Ernesto, immigrants face stereotypes every day.

"They say that we come to steal jobs, they say that we come to take away the sustenance of many people," said Ernesto.

"They think that one comes to this country to steal, but I came to this country for a prosperous, a better life," said Pedro.

Although illegal, working is the main reason these undocumented immigrants say they came to the United States.

"We come to work, we don't come to hurt anyone, we don't come to get into problems," said Pedro.

While many U.S. citizens want immigrants deported, immigrant Cirilo just wants a chance.

"What I really want the people know is to give theirselves an opportunity to know an immigrant," said Cirilo. "To understand where they come from, and to understand why they're here, and to understand what their goals are because I think we all have similar goals in life."

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