Why do we need immigration reform now? Because doing something positive about immigration will be good for our community, will benefit our local economy, and will help sustain our rural way of life.
Our population has remained stable, or even grown because of the immigrants among us. While many of our high school graduates move away, and don’t return, our immigrant population put down roots in our town. Many of the immigrants come from poor, rural sections of Mexico, and are happy to live in western Kansas. They buy homes, and start businesses; they buy cars and shop in all of our local stores. Their children attend the local schools. Do you believe that our town would continue to grow without the new immigrants who live here?
We believe in good family values, and so do the new immigrants. They practice good, family values; they look after their children. They are hard working and devoutly religious.
But, many of the immigrants living here and in surrounding communities have to live in the shadows because they do not have lawful status. Most of them have been in this country over ten years; they came here because life in the little villages in Mexico, where they were born was impoverished and life was difficult and dangerous. Economic opportunity, the same reason that brought thousands of Cubans and Eastern Europeans, from Soviet Bloc countries to this country in the 60’s and 70’s, was the driving force that brought them here.
Immigration reform will enable the many who are undocumented to work legally, and to increase their state and local tax contributions.
According to John Schlageck, a leading commentator on agriculture and rural Kansas, farmers and ranchers face a shortage of workers who are willing to work on farms and in fields. Foreign, imported labor, has traditionally done this work, because U.S. residents don’t find this work attractive. For Mexican workers these jobs present real economic opportunity.
“It’s past time for this country to figure out a workable immigration policy. One that will benefit our country and those willing to come to these United States and provide valuable labor.”
Schlageck states: “Immigration reform is right for the economy, for the business community, and for immigrants who follow us in their hopes for a better life.”