Last updated: July 18. 2013 2:29PM - 270 Views
Bob Fala
Outdoors Columnist

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With the passage of an immigration reform measure by a bipartisan group of members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, some advocates of long-awaited change are allowing themselves to hope. If President Obama has been nobly ambitious when it comes to taking on politically charged issues such as health care reform and gun control, he might be called a glutton for political punishment in advocating that the nation address a long-simmering lack of direction on immigration.

But the president is right to make this a priority. As millions of illegal immigrants have come to the United States over the years in search of higher hopes and better lives for themselves and their children, they have become targets of political opportunism on the one hand and exploited members of the agricultural workforce on the other.

Is it right for people without the proper documentation to enter the country knowing it is illegal? …

But the Senate committee would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who passed pretty tough muster, and that path would take years to navigate, though illegal immigrants would be granted a degree of legal status in the meantime.

The House, with more hard-nosed tea partyers than the Senate, is unlikely to follow suit, and even the Senate measure will surely change in the course of debate. Still, this is something after decades of nothing. Sadly, there remain many lawmakers who share the view of Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who continues to fight the notion of providing any kind of path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

Opponents of providing such a path to those who have worked in the U.S. and raised children here and who have been law-abiding apparently hold hope that, somehow, all illegal immigrants can be deported. Deport 11 million people? That’s unrealistic.

Would it not be better to bring these people out of the shadows, have them pay taxes and buy health insurance and share the responsibilities that citizens share?

At the least, it is time for some forward progress. Republicans admit their difficulty in appealing to diverse groups of people, and this nation is becoming more diverse every year. They have a political motivation for trying to do something about immigration. And there are two other motivations that ought to be shared by both parties and for that matter by all Americans: compassion, and common sense.

Distributed by The Associated Press

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