The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Immigration talk opens students’ eyes to problems

By Frankie Farrar-Helm

The greatest reason U.S. citizens may be irritated with Hispanics coming into the country is their inability to speak English, said Juan Hernandez, an activist who supports the improvement of relations between the United States and Mexico.

“The first generation usually learns English,” Hernandez said. “Seventy percent of the second generation doesn’t speak their original language, which leaves 90 percent of the third generation not speaking their original language.”

Hernandez listed five reasons Americans may be aggravated with Hispanic immigrants in his April 13 speech, The New American Pioneers — The Latino Agenda in 2010, during the International Festival on April 13 on NE Campus.

The second reason U.S. citizens could become irritated, Hernandez said, is when Hispanics come into the country illegally.

“A majority of Americans favor legalized immigration,” he said.

Another reason, Hernandez said, is some feel immigrants are taking citizens’ jobs.

The fourth reason Hernandez gave is the feeling Americans have that everyone, including legal or illegal immigrants, should pay taxes and Social Security.

The last reason, Hernandez said, is the feeling that if there is no fine for coming into the country illegally, there should be.

If someone crosses the border without documents, there is no fine, which is why so many people try to cross, he said.

“If you lie about being a U.S. citizen, you get a penalty,” Hernandez said. “But if you cross the line, they’ll just send you back.”

Hernandez mentioned the march for immigration reform in Washington March 21 that had an estimated 200,000 people, mostly Latino.

They called for action, wondering why a new immigration bill hasn’t been presented.

“Obama said he would push for immigration reform within the first year of office, but it hasn’t happened yet,” he said.

If something isn’t done about immigration now, Hernandez said, nothing will be done for another three years or until the next election.

A student who attended the speech asked Hernandez what will happen for people who apply for citizenship after an immigration bill passes.

It’s not fair for people who have gone by the rules and applied, she said.

If a bill passes, Hernandez said, the process of getting citizenship could become faster than before.

NE student Molly Money chose to attend the speech during the International Festival for extra credit for her Spanish class and to get an insight on immigration.

After listening to Hernandez speak, Money said she didn’t realize immigration was such an important issue.

“Hernandez gave us a lot of statistics I felt I could find out on my own,” Money said.

“Then he covered the five parts of criteria, and I really felt like he was getting somewhere. I feel like I’ve touched base with what he was talking about.”

Cecelia Seiling attended the speech to learn something new.

“I loved last year’s International Festival events,” Seiling said.

“So this year, I wanted to see all I could fit into my schedule, including this one.”

Hernandez was knowledgeable on Washington’s thoughts on immigration, Seiling said.

She believes Hernandez is ready to be used as a catalyst for change.

“It makes me think how we as a nation need to be more passionate and forthright with changing immigration laws to not criminalize illegals,” Seiling said.

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