Saturday, May 19, 2007

Immigration Reform Needs Big-Picture Approach

By Christopher Truscott
The immigration proposal forged by a bipartisan group of senators seems just fine and marks a decent starting point in dealing with this contentious and important issue.

But if we only focus on reforming bureaucratic processes and increasing border enforcement we’re doing little more than treating the symptoms of a much larger problem.

If we truly want to reform our immigration system we have to play a leading role in breaking the cycle of unspeakable poverty in which millions from the Rio Grande to Cape Horn struggle to endure each day.

Absent that, no amount of border security, guest worker programs or pathways to citizenship will significantly stem the flow of northward migration – illegal or otherwise.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “Widespread poverty and concentrated wealth cannot long endure side by side in a democracy.”

Certainly if he were with us today he’d say the people of the Americas cannot meet their full potential so long as just one-third prospers and two-thirds languish.

Christopher Truscott can be reached at He thinks in the long-run places like Bolivia, Venezuela and Paraguay will be more important than Iraq.

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