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Why Can’t Congress Be Like Most Of Wisconsin On Immigration-Reform?

August 18, 2013

After reading a fantastic column by Tom Still today regarding immigration-reform one thing comes to mind.  Why can’t congress find the same moral ground that Wisconsin has on this issue?

Speakers included Tim O’Harrow, whose Oconto County dairy farm was raided by  immigration authorities six years ago. “Law enforcement descended on our farm  like wild dogs, and treated one of our original employees like a dog, or less  than,” he recalled.

O’Harrow is representative of a trend on Wisconsin dairy farms, especially  those with larger herds. About 40 percent of dairy farm workers in Wisconsin are  immigrants, according to a UW-Madison study.

Ed Lump, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association,  said his industry employs a number of immigrants — and the jobs they hold aren’t  always low wage or dead-end. Many use the experience to become managers or start  their own businesses.

John Huebscher, executive director of the Wisconsin Catholic Conference, said  treating immigrants fairly is at the heart of Christian doctrine. “It’s central  to who we are. From the very beginning, Christians have been called to care and  speak out for those at the margins of society,” he said.

Marathon County Sheriff Scott Parks said he supports a national  identification system to help law enforcement ensure public safety. He added,  however, that local law officers aren’t likely to put immigration law  enforcement high on their priority list so long as people who may or may not be  undocumented aliens are otherwise obeying the law.

Darryl Morin, a Latino and a Republican activist who founded Advanced  Wireless Inc., said the Senate bill won’t turn illegal immigrants into citizens  overnight. Rather, he noted, it allows them to step out of the shadows and begin  a “very rigorous path” to documented status or citizenship — provided they pass  background checks and a citizenship test.

Erich Straub, who runs a Milwaukee law firm specializing in immigration, said  many native-born Americans would have trouble passing a citizenship test. “But I  have never had a single client in my 20 years of practice fail that test. They  take it very seriously,” he said. “It’s a point of pride for them.”

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