New Plan for Immigration

By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief
By: Stephen McLamb, Bureau Chief

Knoxville (WVLT) - As many as twelve million Hispanic and Latino immigrants are now in the United States as the White House is pushing another plan on the issue.

Many local people have watched the increase over the last several years.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb takes a look at the issue and its effects to the judicial system.

With the rise in immigrants so too are the number of court cases. Officials say the biggest problem they face is the language barrier.

Immigration continues to rise in East Tennessee which has some residents feeling something needs to be done.

"Export them. If the government, especially Bush, would put the funding behind it and get them out of here. They're taking our jobs, period," says J.W. Stinnett.

"I believe that is a very narrow way of thinking because America is a country of immigrants," Luis Velazquez heads the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He says companies like People magazine recognize the influx of Hispanic immigrants who are coming for purely economic reasons. "So the opportunities here are obviously attractive to anyone who watches television and watches movies."

The increase also applies to the court system which has changed a lot over the last five years.

"One every two to three weeks and now we have multiple parties everyday," Blount County Sessions Judge William Brewer, Jr. says.

But also at a cost to the state in money and time.

"If you've got someone who is a non-English speaking, or Hispanic for instance, if you involve an interpreter it just takes a little longer to get the cases through," says Judge Brewer.

The issue of immigration may soon be dealt with as the White House puts forth a new plan but it's not on the front burner.

"I think immigration will come up the second half of this year and I think it's going to be something that's going to be dealt with on a bipartisan basis," says Senator Bob Corker.

The President's new plan calls for three year visas renewable indefinitely at $3,500 each time, which critics call amnesty.

Velazquez says there needs to be immigration reform by the government and also says there needs to be better economic ties with Latin American countries as far as trade.


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