LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - East Texans are weighing in on the immigration reform plan outlined by President Barack Obama Thursday night.
"This is for good straight hard working people who would be legally here if our immigration laws made any sense at all, but they don't," said attorney Richard S. Fischer. "People say get in line, but there isn't any line. That's a myth, you can't get in line. You can get in line, but you would be dead before you get to the front of the line."
Obama's plan would allow legal status for 5 million undocumented immigrants. The plan would include parents to children that were born in the U.S. To be eligible for the plan, a person must have been in the states for at least five years. They will have to pay a fee of $500 and have no criminal background.
Since the announcement last night, East Texans have been split on the issue.
In a facebook message, Congressman Louie Gohmert said, "This unlawful, blatant executive action would legalize more than 5 million people here illegally. This president is single-handedly creating a constitutional crisis and hurting the citizens he took an oath to protect and defend."
Legal experts disagreed with Gohmert and said last night is what was needed.
"It was good for those that want to do what is right and become legal," said Lufkin attorney Jose Gonzalez.
Gonzalez said he understands from his family about the hardships of immigrant families.
"My father was a first generation immigrant from Mexico," Gonzalez said. "I also have aunts and uncles and cousins who were also in this situation. The big hardship is, as the way immigration law is written now requires a lot of these people to leave them United States, but yet they're penalized three to ten years, where they're not allowed"
Gonzalez said he thinks the executive order from Obama will be good for those hiding in the shadows.
"I think it will dwindle as time goes forward and they see that it is a viable option to come forward," Gonzalez said.
Fischer said his phones have been busy all day and in those he had talked to, there has been one main concern.
"They are worried that this program will end, and the government will use all the information they got to catch them and deport them," Fischer said.
Both Gonzalez and Fischer agree it will take time to get a fuller understanding of the president's order, but they are hopeful for the future.