Outside editorial: Vexing illegal immigration challenge begs for open-mindedness

This editorial first appeared in the Sioux City (Iowa) Journal:

If you listen carefully, you occasionally will hear a reasoned, calm voice within all of the unreasoned, red-faced shouting so common to national discourse today.

Such was the case on Oct 8 when former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush spoke about immigration at the annual Siouxland Chamber of Commerce dinner.

As part of his blueprint for economic growth, Bush — who is considered a potential future presidential candidate — includes immigration reform. In Bush’s view, reforms should include a way to untap the potential of undocumented immigrants who already live within our borders for economic reasons. Due to declining birth rates and the retirement of Baby Boomers, he said, America will need more immigrants to help fill future jobs.

“It’s impossible for me to imagine a country that allows people to live in the shadows rather than maximizing their potential,” Bush said.

We will withhold an opinion on Bush’s full immigration plan until we read all the details, but we appreciate his contribution to the debate over this vexing issue. In our view, he offers valuable food for thought and asks for the kind of open-mindedness so crucial to a comprehensive solution.

Illegal immigration is a complicated subject with legal, social, security and, yes, economic ramifications. Unfortunately, as we see all too often on big issues of the day, Washington — reduced to near-paralysis by partisanship and intransigence — appears incapable of meeting this challenge. ...

This problem begs for a middle-ground solution to which all sides must cede some turf for the greater good of the nation.

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