Illegal immigration: A search for pragmatic solutions
In his April 5 op-ed, "Illegal immigration undermines America's character," Walter Rodgers continues a tired script stoking unfounded fears of a nation under siege by angry immigrants. Mr. Rodgers conjures up images of Latinos stubbornly refusing to seek an education and striving to undermine America rather than join it.
The many immigrants I have been working with in my 35 years of ministry show me these people are hardworking men and women who do all they can to give their children an education and a better life. Communities and congregations prosper when native born and immigrant seek to know each other as persons rather than allowing themselves to be shaped by the kind of prejudice Rodgers advances.
Comprehensive immigration reform offers a practical and humane response. It is not amnesty for those who broke the law, as some critics argue. An earned legalization program with a path to citizenship is not a handout. It would require undocumented immigrants to work, pay fines, and take English classes.
Over the past several decades, the federal government has poured billions of dollars into beefing up security along the US- Mexican border. Migrants have responded by finding new and more dangerous routes through the Arizona desert. There is no wall high enough to deter those seeking a better life.
All nations have a right to control flows of immigration. But addressing the complex realities of global migration and the root causes of why so many risk death to come here will require more than tough talk from newspaper columnists or the cowboy justice of politicians and local sheriffs.
A fair and substantive debate about immigration that respects principled disagreement is critical. But it's time to stop demonizing immigrants and degrading those seeking a better life for their families.
Let's honor our nation's highest ideals by putting hope before fear and find pragmatic solutions that unite Americans once again in a common purpose.
Bishop Minerva Carcaño
Walter Rodgers's commentary, speaks the uncomfortable truth that demand for cheap labor is the dominant cause of our overpopulation of illegals.
Like the war on drugs, where curbing the demand is a powerful way to reduce or eliminate supply, America needs to find the will to outlaw in the strongest possible ways the hiring of illegals.
Until there are significant consequences, what motive will there ever be for such hiring to cease? America's historic role of providing opportunity can continue only so long as rational rules and regulation are strictly adhered to.
David K. McClurkin