Sunday, April 21, 2013

Immigration Reform and of Lessons Learned on Gun Control and Gay Rights

("Immigration and Fear")

The gun control debate over the past years has been born not out of momentum for change but by spasmodic episodes of violence. The challenges to the status quo have largely been reactive, not proactive, and the depth and breadth of the arguments in support of second Amendment rights have not dissipated or waned.

The question is whether immigration reform more closely resembles gun control or is rather akin to the long battle for gay rights. That issue has been decades in the making and the change in public perception has come inch by inch. As the positions in opposition have peeled away over time, much of the anti-gay fervor has been diminished and neutralized.

It was not too far in our past that the Republican presidential candidate spoke about making life so distasteful for over 11 million people in our midst that they would voluntarily choose self deportation. Has the psyche of those on the right been so damaged by the 2012 electoral defeat that there has been a fundamental shift in their opposition to creating a path for citizenship for undocumented immigrants? Or is this an illusion, a fleeting reaction, much like the initial response to Newtown, which will lead not to important legislation, but with head shaking heart wrenching defeat?

My hope is that immigration reform is a matter whose time has come, and that the unified voices in support are not momentary but sustained and real.

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