As tension continues to build on the U.S.- Mexico border, immigration is at the forefront of conversation.
The debate between what is humane and what is legal pushes forward with no signs of reaching common ground anytime soon.
We found two local men who have experienced immigration first hand but have very different opinions.
Melhem Jabbour first came to the United States from Lebanon on a student visa in 2005.
Over the past 13 years he has gone through the process of getting a work visa, a green card, and just last month he received his official U.S. citizenship.
“It is a long process, it is a little bit painful. You know you have to have all of the papers, and a lawyer, and all this stuff, but there is always that light at the end of the tunnel,” says Jabbour.
He wants Americans to realize why people want to immigrate to the United States, “it is very important to know that if you are living here, that is different than what is going on around the world. People are complaining but they never went and tasted what is in other places.”
Mario Serrano was born in the United States to a mother who was a citizen and a father who came to the United States on a work visa.
His father was deported back to mexico nearly ten years ago.
Friar Serrano’s views on immigration are based in his faith.
“Our faith does not stop at the U.S. border, be that at the U.S., Mexico border, or at the U.S., Canadian border,” says Seranno, Confentual Franciscan.
Serrano wishes the United States would make the citizenship process more obtainable for refugees and immigrants, “if we are not going to welcome them here, is what are we doing then to help them to rebuild their home country.”
Jabbour says when he received his citizenship it was one of the best moments in his life.
He believes that if you want to be an American that no matter who you are or where you come from, you should earn it. So that you too, can feel the same satisfaction, “there is no legal and illegal immigration. There is either legal immigration or invasion of the country. Period.”
One of the biggest complaints about the citizenship process is the price tag that comes along with it, making it impossible for some refugees.
But those who have completed it say it’s worth every penny.
For more information on the citizenship process CLICK HERE.