NEW YORK—President Barack Obama made a plea Tuesday to garner public support behind a series of reforms to the country’s immigration system, which could offer around 11 million illegal immigrants a quicker way to become citizens.
InQueens, New York, many immigrants gathered to watch the speech. Here are some of their reactions.
Emily Cajamarca, 10, student, citizen, Queens. “I really feel excited because I want the president to give the immigration reform, so that my parents can go back to Ecuador. I want to have a family trip to Ecuador, my mom and my dad are not citizens so they cannot go.”
Maria Elena, 53, membership organizer [of Make the Road New York], citizen, Flushing. “I feel very happy because i think this is the time, I think so many people have been waiting a long time, families are separated for a long time. I think it’s time for them to live free.”
“I want to see everyone who lives in this country to feel free to work and to stay together with their families.”
Natalia Aristizabal, 30, youth organizer [of Make the Road New York], citizen, Queens. “What we want to see now is a bill introduced to both the House and the Senate moving forward a conversation that is realistic. And we understand that there will be a lot of negotiations but at the end of the day we want his proposal to have citizenship. We heard him acknowledge that this is a nation that has been built on the labor of immigrants. It was nice to hear that he has a proposal that includes bipartisan support. I would like a bill introduced in a couple of weeks.”
Katherine Tabares, 17, student [also a member of Make the Road New York], overstayed visa, Queens. “I’m very excited because I see it is possible that we can pass the comprehensive immigration reform that can benefit not just students but also our families and also taking into consideration students like me who have been here for less than 5 years. I feel very happy that [Obama] is really thinking about giving the opportunity to us. Because we have the potential to offer this country so many things, so many ideals, we just need the opportunity. I am doing Political Science right now but I am hoping to be a lawyer in a couple of years. I am very hopeful, excited, and I’m always putting 110 percent of myself because I feel like this is my home.”