Letter: Immigration thicket

Alex Zorn’s recent article in the Post Independent on how several Garfield County faith-based organizations joined the local immigrant population on Mother’s Day to show that, regardless of faith, they would stand together against the deportation of peaceful community members, is a key reminder of what our community represents. Because it is a foundational social principle, keeping families together is a promise shared across different religions, cultures and political parties.

Policy changes at the federal level have caused many families in our community to become increasingly fearful. The continuous immigration policy shifts prioritize even more undocumented and documented immigrants for removal — including deep-rooted, contributing members of the community.

In Garfield County, there are many like Yesenia Arreola who struggle with outdated and incomprehensible immigration laws that are ripping families apart.

We are grateful that our local and state law enforcement agencies remain focused on their crucial work of keeping our communities safer. This requires trust in the community. Any enforcement-only laws create an unfunded federal mandate on localities to enforce immigration law even if it jeopardizes the trust they have with their communities, and ultimately public safety. We hope that these agencies will continue to refuse to do the work of the federal government, particularly when such work raises constitutional concerns. This is why policy needs to change on the federal level.

This country needs a comprehensive, bipartisan legislative solution. Immigration policy affects everything from individual families to the country’s economy. Our system is a complex thicket of old regulations and often-paradoxical arrangements that sometimes lead to truly perverse outcomes. As a result, the country misses out on the contributions of willing workers upon which workers in other parts of the economy depend.

The only authority with the power to truly correct the system is Congress, which must work toward the comprehensive immigration reform our country, our community and economy urgently needs. Just like concern over separated families is not limited to certain religions, immigration issues are not limited to one political party.

Jennifer M. Smith

Glenwood Springs

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