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Wednesday, March 13, 2013
It takes a lot of strength to reconsider one’s political outlook on an issue, especially in the public eye, and this is exactly what Virginia’s 6th District Rep. Bob Goodlatte has done — and on an issue as sensitive and public as immigration reform.
His willingness to negotiate demonstrates a powerful dedication to what he seems to feel is right.
One among a group working to produce an immigration reform bill, Goodlatte’s willingness to consider diverse proposals and his choice to withhold strong judgment regarding his preferred variation of immigration reform suggests careful consideration and flexibility.
His statements demonstrate his dedication to serving and including the wishes of his constituents in this decision.
Thus far, Goodlatte, like many of his fellow House Republicans, has disavowed the idea of a special path to citizenship for illegal immigrants; instead, he has emphasized pursuing citizenship through the established channels. He would send undocumented immigrants to the back of the line rather than offer them a rapid path to citizenship that would place them before those people who followed the legal processes.
Goodlatte’s flexibility reflects important values that reach beyond the face value of immigration reform, and a willingness to consider the unique circumstances associated with many undocumented immigrants. This negotiation provides an opportunity to honor the concept and cohesiveness of family across geographical and cultural boundaries.
His desire to see that a path to citizenship remains accessible to individuals indicates respect for human rights, and his desire “to bring people out of the shadows and give them a legal status that would allow them to be better able to participate in our society,” as quoted in the Huffington Post, exhibits an interest in protecting human and workers’ rights alike.
I hope this willingness to rethink represents a greater trend toward a willingness to reconsider, and to recognize the universal dignity tied to being human.
I would encourage Goodlatte to continue involving himself in these deliberations, and to work to facilitate the naturalization process to ensure that no more families face the horror of being torn apart over the status of their citizenship.
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