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Sunday Feedback: Border security is essential to immigration reform

11:32 AM, Jul. 10, 2013  |  Comments
FILE - This Nov. 17, 2008 file photo shows U.S. Border Patrol agent Gabriel Pacheco walking back to his vehicle along the border fence in San Diego. With border crossings at a 40-year low, the U.S. Border Patrol announced a new strategy Tuesday, May 8, 2012 that targets repeat crossers and tries to find out why they keeping coming. For nearly two decades, the Border Patrol has relied on a strategy that blanketed heavily trafficked corridors for illegal immigrants with agents, pushing migrants to more remote areas where they would presumably be easier to capture and discouraged from trying again. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
FILE - This Nov. 17, 2008 file photo shows U.S. Border Patrol agent Gabriel Pacheco walking back to his vehicle along the border fence in San Diego. With border crossings at a 40-year low, the U.S. Border Patrol announced a new strategy Tuesday, May 8, 2012 that targets repeat crossers and tries to find out why they keeping coming. For nearly two decades, the Border Patrol has relied on a strategy that blanketed heavily trafficked corridors for illegal immigrants with agents, pushing migrants to more remote areas where they would presumably be easier to capture and discouraged from trying again. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
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Each Wednesday afternoon, we post online a draft version of the next Sunday's editorial. We want to know what you think! Leave us your feedback in a comment on this story, on our Facebook page, via Twitter by tweeting to @WDHOpinions or by emailing opinion@wdhprint.com.

We'll incorporate reader feedback into the final version of the editorial, and on Sunday we'll publish selections of the responses on the topic. Please share your thoughts by the end of the day Thursday.

Secure the borders, create path to citizenship

In his interview with the Daily Herald Media Editorial Board last week, Gov. Scott Walker struck an extremely dovish note on immigration.

We largely agree with Walker, and support the stands he took in favor of a massive overhaul of the nation's system for legal immigration as well as the idea of a path to citizenship - the dread "amnesty" of reform opponents - for many of those who are living here illegally now.

Here in Marathon County, there are dairy farms and manufacturing businesses that depend on immigrant labor - and the reality is that not all of the workers are here with legal paperwork. In the same way that southeast Asian immigration permanently changed the face of Wausau - for the better - rural Marathon County is in some respects being transformed by Latino immigration.

The same is true across the region, the state, the nation. It is not acceptable to force these immigrants to live in the shadows for their whole lives.

But we part ways with Walker at the point where he downplays the importance of border security.

There are serious logistical challenges to policing either the northern or southern U.S. border. But ongoing measures to secure them - and to find and deport criminals, terrorists and others who truly threaten safety here - are a necessary precondition to making immigration reform work in the long term.

This is not a simple issue, and we credit Walker for taking a position that might not endear him with parts of his conservative base. But let's not get carried away. There is no form of comprehensive immigration reform that can happen without real increases in border security - and there shouldn't be.

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