As with other facets of America’s cultural divide, the debate over immigration reform is a battle between reason versus emotion and fact versus fiction. Some pundits laud immigrants’ contributions to this society; others itemize their arrest records. A few cite the Boston Marathon bombers as two reasons to tighten the nation’s borders while the “Economist” argues that ignoring immigration reform amounts to political suicide for conservatives.
To examine this issue on a rational and humane level, the Minneapolis Chapter of the Humanists of Minnesota has invited John Keller, Executive Director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (ILCM), to address the recent immigration laws proposed in Congress on Saturday, May 18, at 10:00 a.m. at the Lake Nakomis Community Center. Not only will his presentation, “Immigration Reform: Battles, Bargains, and Benefits,” update the latest developments on the issue, it also “will discuss the need for reform, the costs of doing nothing and the benefits of comprehensive reform.”
According to the ILCM web site, its mission is “to provide quality immigration legal services, law-related education, and advocacy to meet the steadily increasing needs of Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee communities.” The Center accomplishes this mission in three ways:
- Remedying legal problems
- Preventing legal problems
- Raising public awareness of immigration issues
The last of these seeks to persuade and promote “sound public policy that protects the universal human rights of immigrants and is both compassionate and practical.” To that end, Keller will argue that acknowledging the rights of the immigrant population is vital to a strong economy in Minnesota and that gaining that vitality can occur under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) memorandum implemented under the Department of Homeland Security last year.
That memo has already been challenged in the Sixth U.S. District Court by the state of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on behalf of Christopher Crane and nine other Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents as “illegal and dangerous.” While the courts sort out the legal ramifications of this directive, Mr. Keller is quite capable of ascertaining the moral and humane impacts of this challenge as well as other issues associated with the immigration reform controversy. Interested parties on both sides of this nation’s cultural divide can expect to find his presentation and the Question and Answer session that follows by no means conclusive, but certainly provocative and enlightening.