Improving America’s image can start with its immigration policy. Politicians and legislators need to address immigration reform as a matter of balancing law enforcement and America’s historic pledge of openness to others throughout the world. Our pledge is to those who are oppressed by poverty, lack of opportunity, or political repression outside of our country, and should extend to those already inside our nation—due to those same universal human conditions. Offering citizenship to illegal immigrants would not damage the credibility of American law, as some hard-line supporters contend. Rather, it is America’s role as the symbol of hope and opportunity to the world which is at stake if the country continues to reform its immigration system with hard-line policies of exclusion and proposals aimed simply at punishing, and not including, illegal immigrants.
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