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September 10, 2006

Separating Wheat from the Chafe

On Friday I called and spoke with Christian Bottorff, Staff Writer, the Tennessean about the proposal by Sheriff Daron Hall of Nashville to deport the approximately 4,000 inmates a year who pass through the Davidson County Jail system. The Sheriff held a news conference attended by officials in the Democratic party. This conference offset the press conference held by Republicans several weeks earlier. Both press events were designed to give the voters the impression that they are "tough" on immigrants. This move by elected officials in Tennessee to an anti-immigration stance gives cause for concern.

Neither event included stakeholders in the immigration debate; ie, immigration officials, immigrants, immigrant groups and churches, immigration lawyers, and employers. This is akin to holding a press conference to announce plans on how to reform the jail without involving anyone from the jail system.

With the advent of Nissan to the Nashville community we should seek to learn from their expertise in cross cultural communication and cross functionality teams. The recent "press events" were ones by officials talking at the community rather than engaging the community in an exercise to find a solution.

Comprehensive immigration reform was not mentioned in either "press events". There can be no solution unless there is reform that would unify families separated for years, lead to a pathway to permanent residency and citizenship, adjustment of workers, a rational number of visas and bring equity to our immigration laws.

To focus on hardcore criminal aliens you have to separate the wheat from the chafe. Chasing housemaids, construction workers, and other workers only keeps law enforcement officials busy without a focused result of reducing crime. This is how you will have a safer community.

Mario Ramos, immigration lawyer
Member of Essential Worker Committee American Immigration Lawyers Association

Posted by VisaLawyer at September 10, 2006 05:50 AM

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