How do you sort out values behind the hot-button issue of immigration?

Let’s talk about immigration today.
Several readers of OurValues already have posted Comments about race and immigration. It’s a hot-button issue, because it touches upon so many of our deeply held values. Clearly, the issue of immigration will figure prominently in the upcoming elections.

    Have you seen Time magazine’s recent cover story, “The Great Wall of America”? The cover shows a stark black line vanishing in the horizon, bisecting the desert into two sun-baked halves, one Mexican, the other American. At the cost of about $1 million per mile, this fence is intended to control illegal migration from Mexico and bolster our nation’s security.

     Think about that phrase. “The Great Wall of America” reminds us of other historic walls built to control the flow of peoples: the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China, the Israeli West Bank barrier and Hadrian’s Wall, among others.
    So, the immigration story these days is a Big Issue. But it’s also a story of intimate human values.
    Do you recall the story of heroism and altruism that took place on Thanksgiving Day 2007? That’s when Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes, a bricklayer from the Mexican state of Sonora, was attempting to walk across the border into Arizona. According to the story that I first read in a local Arizona paper, Cordova’s purpose (as it is for many illegal migrants) was to find work and earn money to feed his family in Mexico. Two days into his walk, he came upon a 9-year-old boy, Christopher Buztheitner, who was wandering alone in the desert. Christopher had been camping with his mother, who died when their vehicle ran off a cliff. Cordova stayed with the boy all night, lighting a signal fire. Eventually, they were rescued by hunters. The boy was reunited with relatives and Cordova promptly deported by the United States Border Patrol. The Thanksgiving Day story reminds us that immigration is a complex moral issue.

    Immigration is also a kitchen-sink issue for Americans. As the Time story points out, it’s an economic issue, a health-care issue, an education issue and a national security issue.
    Tell us how you’re sorting out the issue of immigration this summer. Click on the Comment link above and simply tell us what matters most to you when you think about immigration. Or, perhaps you’d care to tell us how you’d answer any of these questions:

 

  • Does immigration help or hurt America?
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  • Should immigration be regulated and why?
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  • Should immigrants assimilate and adopt American values?
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  • Could they retain their cultural distinctiveness?

 

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