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The New Immigration Reform Bill–And an American Hero

It cannot be said about many congressman or senators, but Congressman Luis Gutierrez is a courageous hero. I say this not because the legislation he proposed today in the Comprehensive Immigration Reform for America’s Security and Prosperity Act of 2009 is perfect. It is not. there are issues that I have with the bill. Rather, he is a hero because he is willing to stand up for what is right. And, it is right to try to fix our broken immigration system now.

That’s right. Now. Not next year. Not in a “second term.” But now. The tatters and ruins of our immigration system cannot be allowed to remain. Everyday we encounter the human toll of what our legal immigration system has wrought, and we see the effects of years of a lack of enforcement of this broken system, AND the effects of years of over-enforcement of that same system. The results are tragically similar, children separated from their parents, husbands separated from their wives, businesses unable to secure their future because of a lack of talent and skilled employment, and an economy unable to nimbly shift from the 19th and 20th century into the 21st century. As a country, we can no longer tolerate what has become a human disaster.

Courage is not something we are used to seeing in Congress. But Congressman Gutierrez has secured 87 other honorable men and woman in Congress to stand with him in this effort. The question now becomes, who else has the courage to stand on the precipice and look into the horizon. Who else can see the future for what it CAN be with a workable immigration system? Political affiliation should NOT be an issue here. The love or hatred of immigrants or immigration cuts across party lines. The tragedy here is that politics will come into play. One party will play games with the other party and the game will be on. Anti-immigrationists will sing long and loud about “law breakers” and “illegals.” There will be, in the words of the Old Testament, much “weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

Over 200 years ago, Thomas Paine (he of “Common Sense” fame), wrote, “these are the times that try men’s souls.” I dare say we are back in those times. Courage is required, Fortitude is a must, and Patience is no longer a virtue. Reform of our immigration system can wait no longer. Congressman Gutierrez–Thank you for having the courage to begin this debate now.

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