Outside the Beltway: Immigration Op-ed

The op-ed section of major U.S. newspapers have overlooked immigration reform this weekend. Until the 110th Congress convenes next month, most of the arguments have been aired, now it’s time to wait and see what (if anything) will happen next.

However, the op-ed pages of smaller regional newspapers are still writing about the issue, and the tone of these pieces offers an interesting look at the way that this issue has apparently turned across the nation. This article from the Palm Beach Post takes the interesting approach of looking at the border, not from the U.S. perspective, but from that of Mexico. It reports that last year Mexican authorities deported 232,157 illegal immigrants, most from Central America. The editorial goes on to suggest that instead of building fences, the U.S. should consider investment in the countries that send large numbers of immigrants north, with the goal of providing economic incentives to keep people from migrating in the first place.

Another op-ed of note was published in the Decatur Daily online (Decatur, Alabama). This piece is measured and well-reasoned, and takes the position the U.S. needs “thoughtful immigration reform.” Imagine that, thinking about immigration reform before enacting it. What a concept. Seriously, this op-ed considers that central issues of the immigration debate, particularly the fact that the 12 million undocumented seem to be gainfully employed and that suggests that U.S. businesses need their labor.

These two opinion pieces are a far cry from the op-ed selections published in October and late November, which were more likely to bash immigrants than actually consider the issues. Such opinion essays suggest that opinions on immigration has changed, and that outside the beltway, citizens are ready to tackle this issue.

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