Tuesday, June 12, 2007

immigration reform | let a thousand flowers bloom

To my ongoing dismay I have found little agreement with George W. Bush since . . . ever. But I think we're pretty close on immigration reform.

I live in California's San Diego County where we experience the costs and benefits of being home to a significant number of undocumented workers. Count me among those willing to bear the costs for the sake of the benefits. But/And please understand that I long to see every one of my neighbors treated humanly — including the expectation that they will add value to the community and support themselves and their families to the best of their abilities.

Since hiding is not conducive to those ends, I'm all for a robust guest worker program. (For what it's worth anecdotally, most of my small circle of undocumented friends and acquaintances express no intention to live here — they want to get home as soon as possible and stay there).

Beyond that, I'm fine with responsible amnesty — by that name or any other. When commentators and members of Congress say Americans won't stand for amnesty, they're not speaking for me.

I'm just spitballing here but, if US Census projections hold to 2050, it appears to me we're going to need lots of additional people working (and innovating and consuming and starting businesses and contributing sales, property and income taxes) alongside those who continue working productively through their 70s and in support of the growing number who live beyond the age of 85.

There being nothing to indicate that the age cohorts just behind my own intend to reproduce at a rate sufficient to meet that need for workers, why wouldn't we supplement their efforts as we have for 13 generations on this continent — by rewarding the participation and productivity of hard-working newcomers?

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