IN OTHER WORDS: Immigration

From slaves to immigrants, figuring out who belongs in this country and with what status has, throughout American history, taken hard work and even war. But today a new consensus is forming.

“Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America, with laws that are fair and borders that are secure,” said President Bush in his State of the Union address last Tuesday, offering a vision for meaningful reform. Bush’s words follow a year of inspiring progress. Congress has been grappling with the issue, finding some bipartisan agreement in a bill sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy and John McCain. Immigrants too have led rallies and voter registration drives, bringing new energy to the public debate.

Earlier this month, Ali Noorani, head of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, joined advocates across the country by sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reid calling on the 110th Congress to pass laws that can fix the nation’s broken immigration system. Illegal immigration sparks understandable anger. The evening news shows border-crossers breaking American laws with every step. But Congress has to move past emotion and craft laws that usher in true reform.