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Immigration reform: How about some truth-in-labeling?

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We’ll never come to any consensus if we keep distorting each other’s positions.

Can we please stop using misleading language when talking about immigration reform?

We seem to be at a point where a perfect storm is brewing over our dysfunctional immigration system.  A deluge of Central American children is flowing over the southern border.  Persistent unemployment for huge numbers of low-skilled Americans is accompanied – irrationally – by fervent calls for a rise in the minimum wage, while 11 million or so illegal immigrants are taking jobs that “Americans won’t do.” Violence from Latin American drug cartels is creeping further into the US and intensifying.  And, just this week, for the first time in history, a House Majority Leader – Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia - lost a primary battle, largely due to his stance (stances, according to his critics) on immigration reform. 

Clearly, immigration is going to be top-of-mind for quite a while.

"Language matters, people." 

Immigration is a huge issue for middle market companies, as it is for all US businesses. But can we really come to any consensus on fixing our immigration system if we refuse to identify the problems and solutions accurately? 

The terms “comprehensive immigration reform” and “amnesty” are deployed by partisans of both sides for political effect, but both are hugely misleading. 

For instance, polls suggest that a sizable majority of Americans are in favor of “immigration reform.”  Well, no kidding.  Everybody knows the system is broken, and everybody wants to reform it.  It’s how we reform it that matters.  It’s kind of like asking “would you like to make more money?” without describing what you’ll have to do to make it happen.  The normal response would be “hell yes!”  Until you’re told that you’ve got to kill somebody to get the raise.

Conversely, any proposal at all beyond border security seems to be labeled “amnesty,” even if such proposals require significant punishments for illegals and stop well short of citizenship.

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This nonsense is keeping us from making any progress at all, and the politicians, media and commentators need to stop it.  There is a path forward, but we will never identify that path if we continue to insist on muddying the policy waters with ridiculous and often intentionally misleading labels.  Language matters, people.  Let’s clean ours up.

 

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Angus DuBois
Angus DuBois
Contributor
Angus DuBois is the nom de plume of an entrepreneur of 20 years who, in cowardly fashion, prefers to keep his/her business identity a secret. Comments can be forwarded to angus@nexxuspublishing.com.

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