Hattiesburg residents speak out on immigration bill - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Hattiesburg residents speak out on immigration bill

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved an immigration bill on Tuesday that would create a pathway to citizenship for 11.5 million immigrants who are living illegally in the United States.

“We are truthfully happy,” said Jesus Martinez. “It's an opportunity for many of those who have been here for several years and haven't been able to fix their papers."

Along with giving a chance at citizenship to millions of undocumented immigrants, the legislation also provides a low-skilled guest-worker program and allows highly skilled workers into the country.

“For all the immigrants, having a permission to work would be more comfortable,” said Otoniel Lopez. “They would be happier without being afraid of getting arrested."

Although the bill has a long way to go, in Hattiesburg, some residents believe it should be passed.

“It's time for a change,” said Marcol Smith. “We shouldn't have to go through all this, about this racism stuff. They ought to be able to come, get a job just like us, and you know, be legalized."

“I think they should pass it,” said David Smith. “I think everybody needs the opportunity to have a better life and a better economy."

While some are for it, others are against it.

“I don't think it should pass,” said Lucille Russell.

“I think they ought to go through normal challenges like the constitution says,” said James Russell.

For the meantime, the bill is scheduled to have its day on the senate floor in June.

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