I am an English tutor at the Catherine McAuley Center in Cedar Rapids. As a teacher to Mexican and Somali adults, I see close-up how hard these immigrants struggle to learn a new language.
When I observe the debate on immigration reform, I understand the passion with which both sides argue. There are those who favor strong control of people coming into this country, fueled with an understandable fear of terrorism based on the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001.
There are also those who want a place for immigrants here because they understand the terrible conditions in other parts of the world. It’s understandable some immigrants are looking for a better life; wouldn’t you?
Countries such as Canada have managed to figure out guest worker programs and paths to citizenship. And economists tell us now it’s in the best interests of countries like ours, with aging populations, to balance themselves with younger people from emerging countries who need the work.
We can do more to be a welcoming country. Learning a language is just the first hurdle immigrants face. We need not put any unnecessary obstacles in their way when they need us, and we need them.
Gary Walters, regional attorney for Justice for Our Neighbors, will be the guest speaker on this topic at the Oct. 4 Intersections gathering at First Presbyterian Church, 310 Fifth St SE, Cedar Rapids. Cost is $10. For reservations, email email@example.com by Tuesday.
Charles R. Crawley
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