Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

July 12, 2013

Immigration solution missing here and in D.C.

U.S. immigration policy — and what to do with those who’ve declined to follow its guidelines — remains a thorny social, economic, even religious issue. For proof, look no further than the U.S. House and Senate.

Lawmakers in both chambers feel something needs to be done to fix the system. What that should be remains the vexing question. Should the priority be a full-court press on border security? Should a route to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the United States illegally be fast-tracked?

The debate continues, with compromise elusive. That statement is no less true in Goshen, Ind., than it is at the federal level.

A group calling itself the Northern Indiana Community Coalition for Immigration Reform is holding a town hall-style meeting today at the Goshen Public Library, 601 S. Fifth St. We credit the coalition for addressing an important issue.

The coalition tilts left, politically, and its primary goal is a path to citizenship for undocumented workers. Certainly the group’s viewpoint doesn’t hold sway over all of the Maple City.

Opponents of illegal immigration are many, and its unfair to dismiss their opinions outright. Unchecked immigration strains social and education services. It’s no more right to ignore unlawful immigration than to turn a blind eye to the illegalities of, say, shoplifting or drunken driving. And pointing out the problem of Hispanic gang violence in Goshen isn’t bigotry — it’s taking stock of reality.

But are those concerns the whole story? We think not.

Recall that the United States is a land of immigrants. It’s a nation made up of the descendants of people seeking a better life. If their dream was right then, why is it wrong for others now? If our country was made great in the past by a blend of different cultures, why can’t it be now and in the years to come?

The News also urges caution in labeling. The labels we hear include undocumented workers, illegal immigrants, “illegals.” We prefer “people.”

People, perhaps, like our great-grandparents and maybe yours. Imperfect people, certainly, but nonetheless human beings deserving of a level of consideration and compassion.

The human element: That’s something to remember as the immigration debate carries on.

 

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