05/29/07 — More debate? New immigration bill squabbles don’t bode well

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More debate? New immigration bill squabbles don’t bode well

Those who have pointed out that the proposed new immigration bill is less than perfect are absolutely right.

And those who also predicted that the bill would eventually stall in the U.S. Senate because of the myriad of opinions on how this nation should handle the influx of illegal immigrants were also dead on.

The new question is: Will this nation ever be able to come to an agreement on how it should handle those who cross its borders illegally?

The answer could come in few days as spirited debate continues on the new proposal, which is causing all sorts of disagreements among senators and others around the country.

The controversy centers around several issues, the most virulent of which is what to do about the millions of immigrants who are in this country illegally already.

Should they have the opportunity to become citizens by paying a penalty and applying through traditional means, or should they be sent back home? And, if we are sending them home, how exactly will we accomplish that?

The answer you give to that question really depends on where you live. The most aggressive rejection of the new bill is coming from many of the border states that deal with the consequences of illegal immigration daily.

And while the initial reaction might be that this is their fight, North Carolina counties should be keeping watch, too. They are already — or soon will — feel the effects of immigration.

So, the question is what do we do now? Do we continue to debate and deadlock forever, or do we come up with a less than perfect solution that at least gets some movement toward dealing with this issue before it spirals out of control?

The right answer is, of course, yes, it is time to do something and to quit arguing, at least temporarily.

The illegal immigration problem did not just blow up out of nowhere. This concern has come about because this nation has refused to take a stand — any stand — or to set guidelines.

So, getting something on the books to at least begin addressing the problem is critical.

The new immigration bill might not be the right answer, but if it isn’t, there isn’t time to start over. There is only time to finetune it so it becomes the solution this nation needs to start fixing the problem.

Will this nation’s leadership be able to set aside regional differences and get busy on a comprehensive bill that really tackles the problem? We will have to wait and see. Don’t hold your breath.

Published in Editorials on May 29, 2007 11:01 AM