Local advocates say SOTU must address immigration - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Local advocates say SOTU must address immigration

(Source: WTOL) (Source: WTOL)
TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) -

Congress is currently at a standstill on immigration reform and, more specifically, on legislation surrounding the dreamers or alien minors in the United States who were brought here as children.

Toledo advocates will have a close eye on the President's SOTU address, even from south of the border.

Baldemar Velasquez is currently in Mexico. WTOL reporter Malena Caruso spoke to him on the phone to see what he thinks he will hear from the President about protecting the dreamers and reforming current immigration laws.

"The poison pill offered in immigration in the past was okay, I’ll give you legalization of dreamers in ten or 12 years which is a ridiculously long wait, if you give me the billion, billion dollar wall," Velasquez said.

As the president and founder of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, Velasquez says deporting children and breaking up families is not the answer.

He believes immigration and jobs go hand in hand.

"We're going to see a labor supply in 15, 20 years when all of the baby boomers finally retire" Velasquez said. "There is going to be a labor void that we are going to have and we do not have the population growth to fill it."

Velasquez also said the immigrant population is very important to the economy in the U.S. and many minority business owners were also immigrants. In Lucas County the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce said there are 78 minority business owners.

One minority business owner said their construction business is doing extremely well because of taking advantage of tax credits and hiring migrant and immigrant workers.

"Some much of our economy, gosh especially in the construction field, is heavily relied upon immigrants and minority workers,” Ambrea Mikolajczk owner of Ark Restoration said. “And we're able to take on those jobs that a lot of people don't want to do. But they come here trying to live out the American Dream."

People not just in Toledo, but all over the world, will be watching closely Tuesday as the President makes his first SOTU address. As it currently stands, if Congress does not agree on a solution for the dreamers by the beginning of March, deporting will begin.

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