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Reaction To President's Speech On Immigration In Maryland

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By Matt Bush

President Obama's speech on the need for immigration reform received a mixed reaction from groups on both sides of the issue in Maryland.

About 20 people watched the president's speech, translated on a Spanish language news channel, at Casa de Maryland's headquarters in Langley park. All watched silently and intently.

Afterwards, Casa's Executive Director Gustavo Torres said he was pleased with the president's speech. But he felt it was lacking in one area: Torres wishes the president gave a timeline for passage of immigration reform, something Torres believes must be done before this fall's elections.

"There's going to be some anti-immigrant legislators who are going to win elections," he says. "So right now, we are going to ask Republicans to pass immigration reform. If they really want the Latino vote, this is their opportunity to show that to the Latino community."

Ken Aldridge, the Howard County co-ordinator for Help Save Maryland, says the president should be focusing on unemployment and job growth, not immigration reform. He disputes notions that undocumented immigrants take jobs Americans would not do.

"Of course there are jobs that Americans won't do for a particular price," he says. "If the illegals weren't taking the jobs, then businesses would have to raise wages. You'd hire more Americans, unemployment would be lower, and we'd take people off the welfare rolls. Makes sense to me."

Aldridge says he doubts the president has enough support among Democrats to get the bill passed this year.

Watch Obama's speech below:

WAMU 88.5

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