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Local Reaction To President Obama’s Immigration Policy Overhaul

SPRINGDALE (KFSM)- The Arkansas United Community Coalition held a watch party in Springdale on Thursday (Nov. 20) night for President Obama’s immigration ...

SPRINGDALE (KFSM)- The Arkansas United Community Coalition held a watch party in Springdale on Thursday (Nov. 20) night for President Obama's immigration speech.

According to their website, the Arkansas United Community Coalition is an immigrants' rights nonprofit organization with a mission to promote meaningful immigrant integration at the local and state levels, supporting immigrants and other multicultural communities to be agents of positive change in Arkansas.

The watch party was held Acambaro Restaurant on Thompson Street.

AUCC volunteers, Maurizio Lorenzetti, Blanca Estevez and Antonio Garcia, were at Thursday's watch party.

"It was a pretty emotional speech for me," said Estevez. "But it's just a stepping stone. We can't get complacent, we have to keep moving. Even though 5 million people is a lot, there are 11 million people [who are in the U.S. illegally]."

Lorenzetti agreed.

"They have that social security number, they'll be able to get a driver's license, they're able to get insurance, they'll be able to live," he said. "So I think it's great. It's not ideal, but it starts setting the pavement to something bigger."

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and U.S. Representative Steve Womack (R-AR-3) both released statements in response to President Obama's immigration speech, which laid out the actions he plans to take to stop deportation for about 5 million illegal immigrants.

Sen. Boozman released this statement in advance of President Obama's announcement:

"Arkansans should be upset as well as all Americans. This is clearly an overreach of the office. The President is called 'Mr. President,' not 'Your Highness.' He simply doesn't have the authority to do this. Congress needs to take all the tools we have in the toolbox to really push back."

Rep. Womack released this statement in response to the President's use of executive actions:

"The Constitution is clear when it grants Congress the authority to make our nation's laws, not the President. But throughout his presidency, President Obama has refused to do the job actually afforded to him by the Constitution, the job of enforcing-- not creating-- America's laws. This has been especially true when it comes to immigration, and I'm astounded that tonight he's proposed to make our immigration laws even more lax through executive fiat and skirt of Congress yet again.

"There is no doubt our immigration system is in desperate need of reform, but President Obama's plan does not make the reforms we need. Instead, Congress must develop a long-term immigration police that encourages lawful behavior. As we work towards these thoughtful solutions, Obama cannot change the laws himself."