NEW ORLEANS -- President Donald Trump is supporting immigration reform that would cut legal immigration into the US in half.
The president says it's a plan that will protect American workers. Opponents say slashing immigration would hurt industries like agriculture and harm the economy. Local workers and small business owners in Louisiana weighed in on the issue.
Casa Borrega on Oretha Castle Haley is Hugo Montero's American dream.
"Wake up early, go to work, work the whole day to create a better future," Montero said.
Montero came to the United States from Mexico 30-years ago. He opened Casa Borrega after years of hard work. He thinks everyone should be given that same chance.
"The essence, the spirit, the soul of the United States is a land of immigrants. It's a great land created by immigrants," Montero said.
The bill carrying the President's support would cut legal immigration to the US in half and give preference to immigrants who speak English, have financial stability and "useful skills." Fishermen in Westwego say that would leave many in the seafood industry without extra help.
"It will knock out a good bit of people, if some of those people had to go," Fisherman Camille Bourgeois said.
Bourgeois fishes for Jonathan's Seafood. He say anyone should be allowed into the US legally.
"I'm all for the American dream, I really am," Bourgeois said. "100 percent no matter where you come from or who you are."
However, he still thinks US citizens should be given preference over newer immigrants.
"Give a citizen a chance to pay his bills and feed his family first," Bourgeois said.
Back at Casa Borrega, Montero argues that the proposed bill goes against the principals the US was founded on.
"To deny the entry to people who want to work hard, who want to do better in life, I think it's just cruel," Montero said.
As the immigration debate plays out, Montero is feeling lucky he was given the chance to come to the US and start a new life.
"Every day I'm grateful," Montero said.
The proposal will have to go through the legislative process on Capitol Hill, where the bill is largely opposed by both republicans and democrats.
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