Tonawanda News


February 6, 2013

DUVALL: The pragmatic immigration debate


Tonawanda News — We could spend billions tearing apart families by smoking out illegals and deporting them. But even if that works, who’s going to do the low-wage labor-intensive work most natural born citizens simply won’t do? (Seriously, when was the last time a kid from the suburbs — or the inner city, for that matter — signed up to pick fruit in 100 degree heat for minimum wage?)

The reality is we need these people in our society. They serve a vital role in our economy, yes. But they also serve as an inspiration and a reminder to Americans who take their status in this country for granted. They’ve left behind everything they know to take menial, back-breaking jobs with the belief that America is still a land of opportunity. It is the kind of sentiment held by generations of would-be Americans dating back to our founding. It is the fuel that makes this grand American experiment work — and, by the way, the sentiment lauded by Republicans at every turn.

Here in America, if you work hard, anyone can succeed.

I grant these people broke the rules. But they’re here and there isn’t much we can do about that now.

Offering a path to citizenship while working harder to prevent illegal immigration in the future isn’t just the pragmatic thing to do, it’s the right thing to do for our economy and in service to our founding principles.

Eric DuVall is the managing editor of the Tonawanda News. His column appears Wednesdays and Sundays. Contact him at

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