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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

July 12, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Immigration reform: Obama’s plan doesn’t address causes

Only real immigration reform must fix root problems

In Kate Riley’s column [“Obama’s pragmatic approach to immigration reform,” Opinion, July 3], she mentioned the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which was intended to be “the once-and-for-all” solution to America’s immigration problems.

This plan was comprehensive; it was intended to provide those in the U. S. illegally a pathway to lawful status and to tighten border security. In 1996, Congress passed the Illegal Immigrant Responsibility and Immigration Reform Act, which was also comprehensive. Thirteen years later, we are again considering “once-and-for-all” comprehensive immigration reform.

If Congress and President Obama want to make meaningful immigration reform, they must address the root causes of migration and acknowledge America’s role in them. The North American Free Trade Agreement, for example, devastated the Mexican rural economy by so cheapening the import of corn from the U.S. and Canada that many farmers left their land to seek work elsewhere. Weapons smuggled into Mexico from the U.S. feed the violent drug war.

Any comprehensive immigration plan must address more than just border security and the legalization of the undocumented. Until the causes of migration are addressed, the system will never get fixed.

— Greg Cunningham, Spokane

Comments | More in Foreign policy, Immigration

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