A path to citizenship is good for everyone

When I first visited a small village in Northern Mexico in college, I was astounded at the poverty and living conditions of a town so close to the United States. I was so appalled that I created fundraisers to try to send money over to the families I had met to help with their ability to get running water.  I learned while I was over there that their river had gone dry several years before, leaving them secluded in a desert with the only hope for water being desalinization of the sea near them. This story is one of millions of stories affecting many of our neighbors to the south.

I was not surprised to see an influx of people from south of the border coming to the us in later years, as it was my assumption—and later my proven truth—that these folks were essentially economic refugees, willing to take the dangerous risk of crossing the border, pregnant and elderly alike: subjecting themselves to the possibility of getting shot, or jammed into a life-threatening ride in the back of a boarded-up car, just to try to create a better life for themselves on the other side of the border.

This government needs to create an incentive path to citizenship—one that will stimulate the economy ([require] fines, assure that all pay taxes); rid people of their fears of jobs going to illegal immigrants by leveling the playing field for employment; and weed out criminals and those who have crossed the border escaping prosecution in their own country.

The sheriff’s department is right in sending back those who have felony crimes on their record, but the government needs to step up and allow tax-paying, hard-working families a path to citizenship just as they gave my grandmother when she came over from Europe.

—  Joanie Peditto
West Asheville

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