Reader responses to immigration editorials

Jim Ingraham
Staff Photo |

One point you made in your recent editorial was that the PI would no longer use terms that many find disrespectful. I agree with you. If terms like “illegals” or “anchor babies” are disrespectful, then neither you nor any of us participating in the debate over immigration policy should use them. The debate is important, and its importance should not be denigrated by disrespect.

I do think your editorial was disrespectful of people who hold opinions that differ from yours. It included “xenophobic blaming,” “ludicrous calls to deport 11 million people,” “nativist billowing” and “veiled racist blather.” It referred to “vile rhetoric that is not just ignorant,” “mean spirited” and “un-American.” I took exception to those terms, and wondered why those with one point of view deserved respect but those with differing views seemed to warrant some pretty terrible name-calling.

I am not in favor of blanket deportation. In my opinion, it would be devastating to our economy, it would be hurtful to many immigrants, including those here illegally, who are — let’s face it — here because we have welcomed them. I have friends who are business owners who provide all of us in the valley with services from construction to food service who have told me their businesses could not survive without their diligent, hard-working employees from Mexico and Central America. So I agree with Ronald Reagan: I do not favor blanket deportation and believe we should welcome people who will contribute positively to our society.

That being said, most countries in the world do not allow illegal immigration and arrest and deport illegal immigrants. So to label those whose opinion reflects the practice of most every country in the world as haters and xenophobes … well, I think that was unfair and a mistake.

The editorial talked referred to the 14th Amendment to our Constitution. I think that was educational for some readers, which is good. But I think you made it sound more sacrosanct than it deserves. The first 10 amendments to the Constitution are what we refer to as the Bill Of Rights. They were intended to embody into the Constitution the rationale behind the entire document. Said another way, the Constitution is a legalistic document setting forth how our country would be governed; the Bill of Rights set forth the principles that the writers of the Constitution had in mind when they wrote it. Stuff like freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Freedom to assemble and debate our government.

The amendments after the first 10 were, in my opinion, of lesser importance. The 14th Amendment was passed shortly after the Civil War. It’s purpose was to ensure that recently freed slaves would be considered full citizens of our country. A noble purpose that worked well over time. But the 14th Amendment was written for that purpose and that purpose alone.

Those who debated and passed it most likely never foresaw how it would be used 150 years later. I think it’s disingenuous to speak of the 14th Amendment as though it is one of the first 10 amendments. I refer you to the 18th and 21st Amendments. The 18th established the prohibition of alcohol. The 21st reversed the 18th, for which I am thankful. My point is that just because there is a 14th Amendment doesn’t mean that there should not be a reconsideration of it when the circumstances surrounding it have changed drastically.

Am I saying that we should repeal the 14th Amendment? No. It may still be right for America. I am saying that it should be open for discourse about its continued relevance and benefit for America without denunciation for what is, once again, the practice followed by most of the rest of the world.

The bottom line for me is that we need to be able to discuss our country’s immigration policies with respect and without coercion, be that political correctness, political gain or any other reason. It’s too important an issue.

Here are a couple of facts I would like to know. I favor a path to citizenship for those we should be proud to call Americans without regard to their country of birth. How do other countries deal with immigration?

Another issue. I don’t want felons entering our country. I would like to see the PI investigate how many of the felonies in our valley are committed by illegal immigrants. I’d be willing to bet that many of the immigrants to our country, legal or otherwise, would like to be rid of the felons, too. Let’s talk about welcoming those we would welcome and rejecting repeat criminals we would not welcome.

I would like the PI to take a stand on what to do about illegal immigrants. You said that you support “legal immigration,” but that’s not the issue. I’ve been very transparent in saying that I welcome those who will make good contributions to our society regardless of where they were born, and I want to see a well-designed path to citizenship. Will you join me in that, as well as in welcoming how to get it right?

Jim Ingraham

Glenwood Springs

Editor’s note: On Mr. Ingraham’s final point, we agree. The Sept. 28 editorial said: “We favor a path to citizenship for people who are living here lawfully and who follow appropriate procedures to gain legal status.” (By definition, people who need to gain legal status do not have it now. The sentence would have benefited by adding “those,” i.e. “and those who follow …”) We also said, “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.”

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution, besides its clause regarding birthright citizenship, establishes the right to due process and equal protection under the law — the basis for the lawsuit that led to legalization of gay marriage this year. The first section of the amendment: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” The rest of the amendment can be found at

What is PI position on illegal immigration?

You state in your Oct. 5 editorial “We need immigration law grounded in reality”: “We stand with immigrants. Proudly.”

For clarity’s sake, which were you referring to: lawful immigrants — that is, Lawful Permanent Residents, asylees or refugees? Or were you referring to people who made illegal, unauthorized U.S. entry?

It is crucial to clearly delineate between supporting legal entry versus supporting illegal breaking and entering into our country. Obfuscating terminology does not incontrovertibly grant the upper hand in the immigration debate.

You also make allusions to “rounding up and deporting 11 million.” Research reveals that many more than 11 million people reside in the U.S. illegally. Yet no one needs to be rounded up. All we need to do is to make it impossible for illegal aliens to work (via mandatory E-Verify workplace verification), and they will voluntarily return home to reunite with their families.

Fred Elbel

Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform

Editor’s note: We favor a path to citizenship for people who are living here lawfully and those who follow appropriate procedures to gain legal status. We strongly support congressional action to broaden that path. We favor deporting felons but doing all the country can to not break up families.

Comments posted online

Here are a couple of the comments posted on the Sept. 28 editorial:

• Thank you for standing up for what’s right. … This is a moral imperative. It is one that requires those of good character to be brave and speak up for our friend and neighbors. — Dawn Mulally

• I am deeply and firmly in support of this editorial. It’s about time we stand against hatred and divisiveness. — Sonja Linman

• Wow I am speechless, thank you PI. — Arcely Duran

• I am boycotting the The post independent and I urge others to do the same. I have watched the Latino population explode in this valley and destroy our schools hospitals and way of life. I believe in sensible immigration not what’s going on now. — Joe Hultquist

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