Let’s have and reward a conscientious debate
Today, a 1,500-page immigration reform bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. Senate. This may lead to the first comprehensive immigration reform law since 1952.
It represents the first time since 1990 that Congress has put partisan posturing aside to confront the thankless task of fixing a broken immigration system. It will likely last through the summer and into the fall. The press and the public should cut congressional members some slack during this period and acknowledge its contributing members as they make politically difficult compromises.
Who are the “contributing members” of Congress we should so recognize? They are Republicans and Democrats who believe that it is possible to have strong border and interior enforcement of our immigration laws while still creating an immigration process for individuals and their families who contribute so much to our economy and culture.
They can agree on a fair process that allows undocumented workers to lawfully transition from temporary residents to aspiring United States citizens, while not line-jumping those who have been waiting so long. They are the congressional members who are willing to make hard choices to eliminate the long and costly delays suffered by businesses and families who are conscientiously complying with our convoluted and overwhelmed process.
By not letting the perfect obstruct the good, they are serving us well.
Sam Myers, Minneapolis
The writer, an attorney, is former president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.
• • •
In a purely “black and white” world, if you entered the United States illegally, without documents, you would be sent home immediately. Why? Because you broke the law.
But, in a purely black-and-white world, would the U.S. government subsidize U.S. farmers to such an extent that they sell some crops, such as corn to Mexico, at less than cost? No. And, in a black-and-white world, would employers then look the other way and hire undocumented workers? No. That would be illegal.
As a result of these “gray” policies, some Mexicans — unable to compete in Mexico against subsidized U.S. farmers and/or knowledgeable that they may be offered jobs in the United States by employers who choose to hire them despite their undocumented status — left their birthplace in order to seek employment in this country and feed their families.
After having lived in the United States for five, 10 and even 20 years (often longer than they lived in Mexico), and after having established family and roots here, how can we now split them up?
We American citizens, through our farm and trade policies and through the hiring practices of our companies, have had a hand in their immigration and their subsequent employment, and so are partly responsible for the creation of millions of undocumented immigrants.
Let’s offer these immigrants a path to citizenship, and fix the system so we don’t have 11 million more in another 10 years.
Steve Kraemer, St. Louis Park
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.