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Letter: Faith leader: Pass immigration reform now

11:43 AM, Aug. 21, 2013  |  Comments
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EDITOR: As a person of faith, I believe Congress needs to pass comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship, keeps families together and protects all workers. Though there is concern for border security, the number of people crossing has dropped dramatically in recent years. However, people are still dying in the desert. A great many undocumented people overstayed visas, which is not a border problem.

Of course, we do not want criminals and drug smugglers coming in, but the vast majority of undocumented immigrants are simply seeking a better life. The proposed bills include background checks, payment of back taxes, and a fine before citizenship can be pursued. Most have already been paying taxes of various kinds.

Americans do not seem to want many of the jobs filled by immigrants, such as farm labor and working in meat packing plants. Since the crackdown on border crossing, many farmers have been unable to get their crops harvested. Temporary work permits would allow seasonal workers to come for harvests and then return to their families. There is a need for fair wages and working conditions in these jobs; under the present system workers are often taken advantage of because they are not in a position to complain.

Young people who were brought here as children, though they have temporary protection under the executive order put into place by President Barack Obama, still have many obstacles, such as having to pay out-of-state tuition at state colleges and universities.

We are wasting the gifts and talents of hardworking people who have to live underground because of lack of documentation. Our country will be enriched by their contributions if they are allowed to come into the open. I urge congress to get this done now.

Rev. Janet Wolfe,

Marshfield

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