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New York Immigrants React to Obama’s Reform Speech

By Deborah Yun
Epoch Times Staff
Created: January 30, 2013 Last Updated: January 30, 2013
Related articles: United States » New York City
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Immigrants gather in Queens to watch President Obama's speech on immigration reform at Make the Road New York's hosted watch party, Jan. 29. (Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

Immigrants gather in Queens to watch President Obama's speech on immigration reform at Make the Road New York's hosted watch party, Jan. 29. (Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

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.

In Queens, New York, many immigrants gathered to watch the speech. Here are some of their reactions.

Emily Cajamarca, 10, student, citizen, Queens 

Emily Cajamarca, Aunt Teresa Gordillo, Erica Cajamarca, Tania Gordillo. A local family living in Queens, originally from Ecuador, watched President Obama's speech on immigration reform, Jan. 29. (Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

Emily Cajamarca, Aunt Teresa Gordillo, Erica Cajamarca, Tania Gordillo. A local family living in Queens, originally from Ecuador, watched President Obama's speech on immigration reform, Jan. 29. (Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

“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, citizen, Flushing

Maria Elena, 53 years old, originally from Colombia, says the time is right for immigration reform. She hopes people can work freely in the U.S. and live with their families. (Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

Maria Elena, 53 years old, originally from Colombia, says the time is right for immigration reform. She hopes people can work freely in the U.S. and live with their families. (Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

“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, citizen, Queens

Natalia Aristizabal, 30 years old, Young Organizer for Make the Road New York, would like to Obama's proposal to include citizenship, nothing less.(Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

Natalia Aristizabal, 30 years old, Young Organizer for Make the Road New York, would like to Obama's proposal to include citizenship, nothing less.(Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

“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, overstayed visa, Queens

Katherine Tabares, 17 year old, Political Science college student from Colombia, is hopeful after Obama's Immigration Reform.(Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

Katherine Tabares, 17 year old, Political Science college student from Colombia, is hopeful after Obama's Immigration Reform.(Deborah Yun/The Epoch Times)

“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.”

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