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This conservative leader in Gainesville’s Latino community will be at Trump’s State of the Union Tuesday
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Art Gallegos Jr., cofounder of the Latinos Conservative Organization, will be U.S. Rep. Doug Collins' guest at the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019.

A Gainesville conservative leader will be U.S. Rep. Doug Collins’ guest at the State of the Union on Tuesday.

Art Gallegos Jr. is the co-founder of the Latinos Conservative Organization, a local group that works with community members, elected officials and pastors to raise awareness about political and economic issues. He was born and raised in San Diego and moved to Georgia in 1998.

Gallegos said the local Latino community is concerned with topics like education and the economy, and like many, they want to see politicians on both sides of the aisle work together to find solutions.

The State of the Union was postponed due to the federal government shutdown as President Donald Trump asked Congress to fund a wall along the nation’s southern border, a proposal that Trump says will cut down on illegal immigration.

Gallegos said Hall County’s Latino community senses the uncertain future of immigration reform and is waiting for answers.

“Believe me when I tell you they’re very concerned. They’re concerned with border security. They’re concerned with family members,” Gallegos said. “They’re also concerned with having a status and having Congress set concrete reform on immigration.”

Gallegos’ parents are from Durango in northwest Mexico, and he saw firsthand the long process of obtaining citizenship as his parents applied to become citizens.

“Our family has been here a long, long time and through the process of actually applying and following the process,” Gallegos said.

Gallegos said he was looking forward to hearing Trump’s address in person. The State of the Union comes at a time of division in Congress as the federal government is temporarily reopened while lawmakers continue to debate immigration reform.

Immigration policy has direct effects on people’s lives, Gallegos said, so action should be taken.

“It’s time for people to come to the table on both sides, and that’s what I’d like to see,” he said. “… At the end of the day, I think that by President Trump sending all this to Congress and putting it on their side of the court, saying let’s fix this. … That has been affecting people in the past, it’s affecting people now, it will affect our future.”

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