The 112th Congress has begun and we've already heard much rhetoric about the problems of illegal immigration. This should be the opportunity to seize the issue and develop a comprehensive immigration reform package. But it appears that this Congress, like the previous one, will use the contentious immigration issue to make political points, and not find a solution that's good for the nation.
With Democrats controlling the Senate and Republicans controlling the House, it will take compromises -- not speeches that inflame Americans -- to pass reform legislation.
So far, we've seen little common ground, with Republicans going after birthright citizenship and Democrats playing up to the nation's growing Latino voting bloc. There is room for compromise if leaders of both parties would look for areas of agreement as the basis of a comprehensive reform bill.
Immigration reform should include enhanced border security to limit the growth of illegal immigration, as well as making our nation safer from terrorists intent on doing damage in this country.
We need a fair guest-worker program that provides a reliable pool of workers to industries needing foreign laborers.
There also should be an opportunity for those here illegally to earn legal residency if they meet strict requirements, including paying fines and showing they have had a responsible work history.
We supported the DREAM Act and continue to believe that it is a reasonable solution to young people who are caught in the middle of a legal mess through no fault of their own.
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