Dear Editor:

Having just read Zach Taylor's reply to my rebuttal of his column, I would like to add a response and then I will cease this thread of dialogue.

Mr. Taylor said: "Moreover, we fully understand that brevity is frequently genius and therefore our op-ed pieces are not lengthy and many other news outlets limit to 150 words or less so we have been conditioned to brevity. Another positive about brevity is the reader is more apt to read a few salient bullet points than a scholarly tome, brevity promotes understanding."

True. As a weekly newspaper editor, I used to limit LTEs - and my editorials - to 300 words. It's hard! In his response, Mr. Taylor has gone from a Cliff Notes abstract that clearly implied Dreamers were MS-13 to a lengthy tome that reminds me of that time in my life when I, too, was a bureaucrat. ;-}

In our dialogue, as in the subject at hand, we might heed the advice of 2 Corinthians 3:6: "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

"DACA applicants are admitting that they are illegal aliens." Just like the one-year-old who was recently the subject of a hearing in an immigration court in Phoenix! (

Are they culpable (deserving blame for their illegal status)? Not in my book! And those who are seeking asylum, as many right now are, still have a right to have their plea heard, even though they are "illegal aliens" until then.

Mr. Taylor asks: "Am I to presume you don’t want to see facts presented that frame illegal immigration in a negative light? That is the sentiment you conveyed to me. My point is/was illegal immigration and a lack of border security and the results thereof is the point I am presenting, not a political agenda."

It IS a political agenda, loudly and incessantly espoused by President Trump and some of his supporters. That point of view - whatever the motivation - puts the "illegal immigrant" stamp on a human being and turns him or her into an "other," someone to be processed and removed from our presence as fast as possible. That dehumanizing point of view contributes to "ice box" detention rooms, children in cages - and a one-year-old in a Phoenix courtroom. "The letter killeth."

There's lots that happens on the border that is illegal. I don't at all object to hearing of the drug busts, capture of human traffickers, etc. I do object to the persistent characterization of all who come north as MS-13 evil-doers, while we have a shortage of labor in the jobs those people fill. I object to framing immigration entirely in terms of the drug war, when the market that fuels that trade is in our own communities and we are doing very little to fight the problem at its root. I support Rep. Pearce's cosponsorship of bills in each of the last three Congresses to bring oversight and accountability to the Border Patrol; ICE should be added to the bill. (H.R.3020 - Border Enforcement Accountability, Oversight, and Community Engagement Act of 2017)

To Mr. Taylor's comment, "Your statement, 'President Trump’s hate-fear-mongering, anti-immigrant campaign platform' you cite, does not compare with the original document that I read from his campaign at all and I challenge you to present the original unedited document copy supporting your contention." No, I have not seen a written statement of his campaign platform and a Google search just now did not turn up one. Approval of the 2020 GOP platform is still many months away. What I hear coming out of his mouth in his rambling campaign monologues is us-against-them hate- and fear-mongering.

Finally, let's step back and look at the larger picture. The rule of law is not an assurance of justice. Our immigration "system" is way out of step with our present economic and social conditions. Both parties have demagogued reform and kicked it down the road, causing the situation we have now.

S.744 - the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, passed the Senate with a 68-32 bipartisan supermajority. Speaker Boehner refused to bring it up for a vote in the House, where it probably would have passed. The template is there for a massive overhaul that could eliminate or bypass many of the issues festering today. Instead, we are spending billions of dollars militarizing the border, to the detriment of the environment, border communities, immigrant families, related businesses - and our reputation as that "shining city on the hill," as President Reagan said, paraphrasing a passage in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount.

My thanks to the editor of the Grant County Beat, Mary Alice Murphy, for providing this opportunity to present differing points of view on "immigration matters." I'm sure there are other facets of this discussion that should be heard; I hope other readers will bring them forth. I'm done.


Tom Vaughan