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January 26th, 2012
05:43 PM ET

Letters to the President #1102: 'Arizona ice-e'

Reporter's Note: The President had a not so nice arrival out west, unlike my letters which are always welcome. At least I hope.

Dear Mr. President,

I trust all is going well with your travels after that rather testy chat you had with the Arizona governor. I can't say that I'm surprised. Not only are there the regular party differences between you two, but this whole immigration business is going to be a sore point for a while, I imagine.

And what is the solution? I guess no one knows.

One fundamental question that needs to be answered: What purpose does immigration serve these days?

Some might say "Do you mean legal or illegal?". It seems to me that the two have become so tangled in the same debate that we can no longer discuss one without the other.

So is the fundamental goal of our immigration policy bringing needed labor to this country? Or is it helping struggling people? Or is it for politicians to add to a voting block?

I think, just as our nation's economy has evolved over centuries, our immigration policy has needed to evolve, too. And the first step in that evolution probably starts with that question: What do we expect or want from immigration? Once we answer that, I suspect, we'll be on our way toward constructing a policy that can work.

Regards,
Tom

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