HAZLETON -- The immigration policy announcement made by President Donald Trump and two U.S. Senators brings concern to many Latinos in Hazleton.
"(I was) surprised," Amilcar Arroyo said. "Sad. It's a little bit unfair."
The proposed policy change would give priority to high-skilled and English-speaking immigrants. Amilcar Arroyo is the editor of a bilingual publication. He immigrated to the United States from Peru at the age of 40. He now works in Hazleton.
"There are more than 15,000 Latinos in Hazleton, and I think we contribute to the economy in many ways," Arroyo said. "Even when we hear that people don't agree with that."
Newswatch 16 also spoke with Dr. Chestean Santana, a dentist in Hazleton who is also an immigrant. After hearing about the bill, he believes it will not pass.
"I don't know if they are going to pass it because they have a lot of cuckoo ideas," Santana said. "I don't think they will pass it."
The congressman for Hazleton, Lou Barletta, issued a statement about the immigration bill:
"I commend Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue for introducing this legislation to move our country toward a skills-based immigration system that will raise American workers’ wages, create jobs, and benefit our economy. We have immigration laws in this country for two basic reasons: to protect national security and to preserve American jobs. This bill reinforces those principles.
"For more than a decade, I have argued that fixing our broken immigration system will create greater economic opportunities for American workers and families. Yet, for decades, politicians in Washington have supported policies that benefit foreign workers at the expense of American workers. Just one out of every 15 immigrants to the United States comes here because of their skills. This influx of low-skilled immigrant labor has decreased wages for those without college degrees by nearly 20 percent since the 1970s, and threatens to place the American Dream out of reach for far too many workers and their families. That has to change if we want to help American workers find jobs and remain competitive in today’s increasingly global economy. I look forward to working with the White House and my colleagues in Congress, particularly Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Senators Cotton and Perdue, to follow through on President Trump’s promise to reform our immigration system so that it puts America first."