Opposing views on immigration are nothing new.
A reminder of as much came in a recent USA Today article on President Barack Obama’s immigration plan to protect up to 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation, and the possible impact it could have on Garden City.
In the article, local sources acknowledged challenges and successes in an immigrant-rich community.
The article also included such over-the-top claims as the town losing its culture — even though Garden City has long drawn a significant number of immigrants for labor-related needs — and that foreign-born newcomers are overwhelming local schools and hospitals, and bringing in diseases.
While it’s easy to wish such fear mongering would go unnoticed, it’s important to acknowledge such sentiments in our midst — if for no other reason than to counter the misguided thinking.
Thankfully, many Americans know it makes more sense to pursue constructive, compassionate discourse and strategies to address the nation’s broken immigration system and its fallout.
They see the human side of the equation, in that many immigrants flee poor conditions in their homeland in search of better opportunities. Once here, the vast majority of those newcomers become contributors in their communities, regardless of their legal status.
Then there are those folks who would rather embrace a counterproductive agenda driven by Secretary of State Kris Kobach and others of his ilk.
Kobach, who’s been relentless in trying to crack down on illegal immigrants, has had opportunities to better understand reality.
But during a panel discussion last year in Garden City, he only conjured up questionable statistics surrounding immigrants’ drain on society, employers’ supposed failures to properly screen workers, meatpacking plant wages and more.
Those on the front line here easily poked holes in Kobach’s claims, while he conveniently ignored the truth in his tired quest to pander to the anti-immigrant crowd.
More recently, Gov. Sam Brownback did the same in joining 16 governors who sued Obama over his plan to protect some undocumented immigrants from deportation — a plan in place to encourage needed, comprehensive immigration reform.
That pushback and misguided attitudes on display in the USA Today article were to be expected, unfortunately, and do nothing to solve the problem.