Immigration: The conversation we must have

There are in America “wedge” issues that inflame passions and fears, while defying rational dialogue. Solving these issues requires will, leadership and compromise. But solving them we must: Leaving them fester would ultimately destroy our country.

A wedge issue close to my heart is immigration. A naturalized citizen, I am inherently multi-continental: Born and raised in Africa, European parents, married to a South American, sons born in Europe and America.

As aptly discussed by Sonia Nazario (“I’m a child of immigrants. And I have a plan to fix immigration,” NYT, Opinion, Oct 26), we will find no immigration solutions within partisan dogmas. But her recommendations illustrate a constructive starting point for the dialogue that this nation of immigrants can no longer delay.

Left unattended, population growth, climate change, famine, economic inequality and political intolerance will drive ever-increasing migratory fluxes worldwide, and to the US. Building walls is neither humane nor effective. We must act lawfully but compassionately at and within our borders, while mitigating global drivers.

We need a government willing to be objective, creative and compromising in this and all other wedge issues. To achieve that, effective checks and balances among government branches are necessary. A more plural, flexible and collaborative political system would be ideal.

— Antonio Baptista

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