Town Taking Action Where Federal Government Has Failed

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Get anyone in Arizona talking about illegal immigration and the tension at the table is immediate. But this is not an issue that has just two sides. There is no right and left, conservative or liberal when it comes to immigration. The issue is more complex than that.

The only common ground on immigration is that everyone wants to see something happen -- close the border or open it.

A half guarded, porous border isn't good for anyone, least of all the immigrants who find themselves living in fear of being caught for going to work every day.

Listen to any side of the immigration debate and you quickly realize that no one has a practical solution.

The Mexican government needs to be pressured to improve its own economy and take care of its own. And the United States government needs to either admit there is a niche in our economy for labor from Mexico and Central America or they need to adequately fund and support efforts on the border.

It seems if we wait for either government to act, we will be waiting forever. We have laws, but they are not enforced for unspoken reasons.

A week ago, the Payson Town Council announced it was going to take action.

The system is broken and this council is attempting to make a repair by tightening the local screw.

The council requested that the legal department draft an ordinance designed to crack down on employers who give jobs to undocumented workers and stop the landlords who rent to people who are in this country illegally.

Whether you agree with them or not, the action the council will take on this issue is precedent setting.

They are moving forward where our federal government has failed.

The solution to this immigration stalemate could begin at the local level -- most appropriately in the border states of Arizona, California and New Mexico.

Other complex issues have been tackled on the local scale -- Oregon passed the Death with Dignity act, Massachusetts legalized same sex unions, California made room for medical marijuana.

Perhaps the best way to solve these large, divisive issues is one town at a time, one state at a time.

Whether our solution is effective or whether it reveals its own weaknesses, we will have taken a step forward by having the courage to take a step.

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