KU Hispanic leaders: President’s immigration plan begins to show positive signs

By Michael P Garrett

While many politicians have criticized the immigration reform plan leaked by the White House last Saturday, Hispanic leaders at the University of Kansas say the plan is beginning to show positive signs.

Approximately 11.1 million undocumented immigrants are living in the United States, according to Pew Research Hispanic Center. The Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Center at KU Rueben Perez said the affects of the president’s plan would have more positives than negatives.

“Our undocumented 11 million people are already here. In some ways we are already working with or around them,” Perez said. “I’m supportive of a more formalized or more structured way on how to manage what really is already taking place.”

Some of the positive outcomes Perez hoped for included having a better grip on how many undocumented immigrants actually exist in the United States, a more organized work visa system and having undocumented immigrants begin paying taxes.

According to President Obama’s plan, illegal immigrants could become legal permanent residents within eight years of the plan’s acceptance.

Although there are a lot of good things that would come from this plan, Mauricio Gomez Montoya Retention Specialist with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, said the president’s plan isn’t tackling the entire issue.

From the point of view of someone that first came to the United States from Mexico as an international student and has gone through the process of staying on the legal side of documentation, Gomez Montoya said the immigration reform plans are a little frustrating. It doesn’t make things easier for immigrants, like him, who came to America for school and are trying to find and retain jobs.

“I have been doing everything right for 10 years and I am still getting no breaks,” Gomez Montoya said.

Gomez Montoya said the president’s plan needs to look at the bigger picture. The current purposed plan does not address all of the issues.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told CBS on “Face the Nation” that the plan that was leaked was a draft. However, Gomez Montoya said the issue of immigration reform is going to be very difficult to tackle.

“It still feels like a patch. I don’t think it’s a fix. I don’t know if there is a fix,” Gomez Montoya said.

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