I recently read an op-ed in the Springfield News-Leader by Yolanda Lorge, the director of an organization that tries to build friendships between Hispanic residents and others in the Springfield community. In it, Ms. Lorge laments that many political candidates (and elected officials) spend so much more time attacking “illegals” (undocumented residents) than terrorists.
Some politicians, she says, are sincerely voicing the frustrations many people feel about an immigration system almost everyone agrees is chaotic and broken. But for the rest, a legitimate concern over the failures of our national immigration policy is being transformed into an ugly attempt to turn immigrants, particularly Hispanics, into scapegoats.
Ms. Lorga points out, correctly, that immigration reform is a federal issue whose solutions exceed the practical power of governors and boards of aldermen to address realistically.
I am strongly concerned that the frequency and volume of anti-immigrant rhetoric - nationally and regionally - could end up demonizing everyone who looks, speaks, or eats a little different.
Don’t get me wrong. St. Louis police officers still comply with every federal mandate to verify the status of the people they arrest; and City agencies still follow every regulation to ensure that only those who are entitled to them receive public services. But, as residents of a city that strongly benefits from the energy and diversity of its immigrant populations, we should lobby authorities for fairer immigration policies, not harsher ones.
This week’s Mini-Poll asks your opinions on a range of immigration issues. Give them here.