Editorial: We stand in support of immigrants

En Español

Nuestra opinión en español.

In June, we posted a story on in Spanish about a Rifle man whose wife and children, one of whom needs intensive medical care, were stuck in Mexico because an immigration lawyer screwed up.

One of our readers asked on Facebook, “Since when did the Post become a Latino newspaper??”

Well, we are not, and we had published the story in English a few days before. But, as we replied at the time, we are a news organization that works to serve people who live here — all of them.

While our printed product is in English, our website allows us to reach a broader audience. We’ve had a handful of stories translated to Spanish in the past year or so and posted them online when we think a topic is of particular interest to people in our market whose first language is Spanish. We’ve done it with stories on immigrant driver’s licenses, mental health resources and a few others.

But perhaps we haven’t been sufficiently clear that the Glenwood Springs Post Independent stands with immigrants.

We favor a path to citizenship for people who are living here lawfully and for others already here who follow appropriate procedures to gain legal status. And we strongly support congressional action to broaden that path. We favor deporting felons but doing all the country can to not break up families.

We’ve had enough of the xenophobic blaming, enough of the ludicrous calls to deport 11 million people, enough of the hate that led to a beating in a Basalt parking lot, enough of the nativist rhetoric billowing up from too many Republican presidential candidates pandering to fear. We’ve had enough of barely veiled racist blather about “anchor babies.”

Children born on U.S. soil are citizens as established by the Constitution of the United States of America and thus with the same legal status as, say, freedom of religion.

To put what teeth we can behind our position, the Post Independent in letters to the editor, guest opinions or columns will no longer publish the terms “anchor babies” or “illegal” as labels for human beings.

It is one thing to say a person is here illegally, a factual statement, but another to call a person an illegal. “Illegal” and “anchor baby” as labels are pejoratives that are offensive to a significant portion of our neighbors. We have confidence that our letter writers can express themselves without this language. If they cannot, they’ll have to find another venue to share their feelings.

All of this vile rhetoric is not just ignorant, it is not just baselessly fearful, it is not just mean-spirited. It is dangerous and un-American.

We are (almost) all immigrants by heritage.

Yes, we need border security — though net immigration to the United States is low, particularly from Mexico.

Yes, we have laws and laws are to be followed and enforced — though members of both parties widely acknowledge that the immigration system is broken and needs reform.

Yes, some immigrants commit crimes, but rather than believing candidates’ and Fox News’ use of isolated instances for shock and propaganda, we should look at real data. A report this month from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine found that “foreign-born men age 18-39 are incarcerated at one-fourth the rate of native-born American men of the same age.”

It’s important to note, too, that the vast majority of current-day immigrants in our region are here legally, are dedicated workers and place high importance on family. We would be wise to reach out and seek to include these neighbors in efforts to improve our communities and solve problems. The PI seeks to include them in our vigorous discussion of issues.

The shameful deadlock in Washington, in which some members of both parties, but particularly social conservatives, cling to untenable positions pandering to and thus further engendering extremism, has left us without bold leadership on this and many other points.

So let’s listen to Pope Francis, who told Congress last week:

“In recent centuries, millions of people came to this land to pursue their dream of building a future in freedom. We, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners, because most of us were once foreigners. I say this to you as the son of immigrants, knowing that so many of you are also descended from immigrants. …

“On this continent, too, thousands of persons are led to travel north in search of a better life for themselves and for their loved ones, in search of greater opportunities. Is this not what we want for our own children? We must not be taken aback by their numbers, but rather view them as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. To respond in a way which is always humane, just and fraternal. We need to avoid a common temptation nowadays: to discard whatever proves troublesome. Let us remember the Golden Rule: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’

“This rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities.”

So many in our nation today, including many so-called leaders, trumpet their piety for political gain while ignoring these Christian principles.

We can be better than that. We must be, and we can start locally.

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