Midterm: Springfield Weighs in on Immigration

By Casey Pechan

Springfield Main Street.

Springfield Main Street.

Recently the Senate has taken a break from discussing gun control to propose a possible immigration reform which was quickly countered by House Republicans. Here in Springfield Oregon, residents had equally differentiating opinions.

SPRINGFIELD- Like most Americans, Springfield shopkeepers have strong opnions of their own when it comes to immigration reform, but remain indifferent or perplexed by the proposals offered by the Senate and House Republicans.

“I’m not exactly sure what the plan is. Because one party will say they intend to do this, and another party will say the exact same thing…but no party will say exactly what they’re doing, what changes they intend to make, so we can make our own assessment…” said April Slater, owner of Memento Ink.

According to Arkansas Senator John Boozman, the bi-partisan proposal that he has helped compile aims to, “increase border security, provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, create an effective employment verification system to prevent identity theft and end hiring of unauthorized workers.”

House Republicans, however, question the plan, not considering it to be a “compromise,” and have offered several counter ideas. According to the LA Times, many have expressed approval of the idea of helping illegal children gain citizenship, stressing that those who have gone through the American educational system should become citizens in order to stay and contribute to the work force and economy.

However both groups agree that immigration reform must be more than simply offering a path to citizenship.

“I don’t think they’re going to do it…all they do is bicker,” said Glenn Myers, owner of Trash-N-Treasures located on Main Street. “My personal feeling is that if they’re going to do something like that then they should say ok, you’ve got till the end of the year, you need to register to become a citizen, you need to work towards it, and you need to pay your back taxes if you’ve been here a while.”

Others in Springfield saw immigration as a problem without a solid solution.

“Yeah it’s a big mess. There’s no way around it, you know,” Jessie Riley, owner of Riley’s Second Hand said.

“I will tell you this, I believe that people absolutely should have the right to immigrate here legally…but I don’t think people should be given amnesty or be allowed to immigrate illegally…it creates a burden on our family services,” Slater said.

While opinions in Springfield may be almost as divided as those in the Senate and House of Representatives, there was one thing all downtown residents agreed upon.

Kevin Smith, a worker at Bright Oaks Meats summed up the feeling many Americans have. “Becoming a citizen is pretty difficult, it’s more complex than a yay or nay vote.”

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