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.

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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

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I was named after my great-grandfather, who immigrated from Norway in 1881. Even though I’m a fourth-generation American, my immigrant roots have always been an important part of my identity.

Two years ago, I moved back to Minnesota after having lived in Chicago for 12 years. I was grateful for the diversity in Chicago, and grateful when our home finally sold to a young Latino family.

Immigration makes our country strong and our economy strong. It is time we have comprehensive, sensible immigration reform. Immigrants must have a reasonable pathway to citizenship. Families should be united, not torn apart. And immigrant labor should be rewarded, not exploited.

I want to thank U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota for the leadership they provide for our state. I urge them both to continue that strong leadership on behalf of all Minnesotans, including our newest neighbors and future neighbors.

Lars Negstad, Minneapolis

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Principal’s dismissal sends troubling message

After reading the April 12 article “Washburn principal is ousted after turmoil” I was confused. Why exactly was Carol Markham-Cousins removed from her post? Was it because she was the senior school administrator when students protested issues related to the athletic director? Was it because of dissatisfaction by parents over her “insistence on equity in class offerings?” Was she seen to have lost control of the school, or was it that she tried too hard to keep control?

As I read the last paragraph of the article, I became especially concerned. I realize that it is only one parent who was quoted, but the message that’s being sent to students is that if they don’t like something about an administrator in their school, they will be praised for staging protests that lead to the ouster of that administrator.

Terry Hammink, Minneapolis

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In ‘visionary’ proposal, what about patients?

State. Rep. Jim Abeler claims that the University of Minnesota-Fairview Health Services and Mayo Clinic proposals offer a visionary path to greatness (“Minnesotans, let’s open our eyes and think big about health care,” April 15). In reality, Sanford Health, U-Fairview and Mayo are offering more of the same, just bigger.

My son’s doctor at Mayo Health in Mankato recently referred him to a specialist at Mayo in Rochester. The bill for the 15-minute visit was $640. Since Mayo’s Rochester and Mankato divisions have separate billing systems, my son has to start over on insurance and financial paperwork. The people at Mayo see nothing unusual about this and are not sympathetic.

Facing a chronic illness is one thing. Facing endless copayments, annual minimums and complicated billing and insurance paperwork is another. If Mayo wants tax dollars to help it expand, how about a visionary plan for doing something about the lack of cost control and nightmarish billing in its current system?

Robert Idso, St. Peter

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Whatever he said, secret taping was wrong

Concerning the negative letter about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (“Tape reflects poorly on GOP’s McConnell,” April 13). How would you feel if a neighbor or competitor bugged your home or office and listened to your uncensored comments, in this case about potential competitor Ashley Judd?

Mr. McConnell was the victim.

Robert Gella, Eden Prairie

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Cartoonist’s honor is long-deserved

Heartfelt congrats to Star Tribune editorial cartoonist Steve Sack on his Pulitzer Prize. I’ve often wondered why national media didn’t pick up his smart cartoons more often. They will now.

Peg Meier, Minneapolis