As the discussion on immigration reform intensifies and more and more voices are heard, the need to maintain focus becomes increasingly important.
After so many years of unsuccessful attempts, we can now say that in America there is definitely a growing consensus that something has to happen to improve our legal immigration system, and also to deal with the 11 or 12 million people who are already here, in an objective and compassionate way.
"[The media has) a knack for getting the most extreme people, on the right and on the left, to argue their positions, and in so doing, they increase the polarization rather than help build consensus.
- Rosario Marin, Former U.S. Treasurer
What that reform will look like is yet to be determined. Although a number of people have expressed some basic tenets of what they would like to see included in a proposal, there is no language yet available for public consumption.
So, those of us who are in support of a reform find ourselves on pins and needles because we know that the moment the first draft comes out, there will be a lot of people opposing it, for very different reasons.
One of my biggest fears is of the role the media will play in all of these discussions. The media, attempting to appear unbiased, tries to present opposite points of view. While that in itself is laudable, the reality is that they usually go for the extremes. They have a knack for getting the most extreme people, on the right and on the left, to argue their positions, and in so doing, they increase the polarization rather than help build consensus.
The vast majority of Americans stand in the center and only a few are the outliers; they fall on what is called the bell curve. If we are to reach a broad consensus, we need to hear from the people in the middle. And please let's not make this as a “yes or no” issue”; there are no black and white answers on an issue as difficult as immigration.
We may not agree on every point, and we know there will not be a perfect solution, but it is my hope that we will not make the perfect the enemy of the good.
We know that the greatest country in the world is so because since its inception immigrants have worked day in and day out to make it so. They have come for more than 200 years from every corner of the world, with nothing more than a sheer desire to make it here. They have come for the promise to experience the freedom to do what their heart desires, to work as hard as they can and to fulfill their God-given potential. It is these simple values that have made America what it is today. In my heart I know that reforming our immigration system will only enhance the beauty of this blessed country.
Rosario Marin was the 41st Treasurer of the United States and is co-chair of the American Competitiveness Alliance.