Local News

May 26, 2010 11:42 PM by Ariel Wesler

Both sides heated over illegal immigration

Controversy is sweeping the country because of Arizona's new law cracking down on illegal immigration. It allows authorities to question people in that state if they think they're in the country illegally. Critics say it will lead to racial profiling. An NBC News poll out today says 61 percent of Americans are in favor of the law, but the racial breakdown of that poll is telling a different story.

Some are calling for illegal immigration enforcement. . like the Arizona law.

"They are doing the job the federal government refuses to do," said Paula James, a member of the Minutemen.

Others want comprehensive immigration reform.

"Someone has to fix this broken system," said Belen Seara with Pueblo, a group that helps Latino families.

She says the U.S. needs to increase the number of visas and work permits it provides to immigrants.

"We have 5,000 annual visas provided by the government. I mean, that's not enough for 400,000 farm workers in California," Seara said.

"If they want to come here and work, then they need to come through the correct port of entry, whether its any of our southern states, do it legally, and we'll welcome them," James said.

She says illegal immigrants are taking advantage of taxpayers. While 61 percent of the country approves of arizona's law, the racial breakdown is quite different. 70 percent of whites are in favor compared to only 31 percent of Latinos.

"The law does not have any race in it. This is just a complete diversion and I'm sick of it," James said.

But seara says something needs to happen. 75 percent of farm workers in California are undocumented and greatly contribute to our nation's economy.

"There are certain jobs that are not satisifed, they're not going to be filled up by the U.S. citizens, no matter, what.

Reporter: You're saying they would rather be unemployed.

A critical controversy dividing the country.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger released a statement in response to President Obama sending more resources to secure the border.

"It is encouraging that President Obama is committed to providing more resources to secure the border and I look forward to seeing the final proposal. . .I will continue to call on the federal government to take action on comprehensive immigration reform."

Another part of the NBC News poll found 68 percent of Latinos believe that immigration strengthens the United States compared to just 43 percent of whites.

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