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Reader: We're arguing about the wrong thing

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Our founding fathers wrote:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." — Declaration of Independence, 1776.

So, what does this mean in today's terms?

For me, it means that we have a right in this country to change unjust laws that interfere with unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Probably the most unjust laws in our country today are those that make whole classes of people into criminals because of their immigration status.

Don't get me wrong, fear of outsiders is not new. We didn't invent it. The Chinese tried to keep people out with the Great Wall. In our own country, anti-immigrant movements started when the natives resisted the arrival of the first Europeans to set foot on our shores at Plymouth Rock and Jamestown.

But we have also inherited a rich history of welcoming strangers. Our Judeo-Christian heritage reminds us that we, too, were once strangers in a strange land.

Let's stop wrangling over who belongs here and who doesn't and insist on just laws that welcome people and provide a reasonable path to citizenship — laws that don't penalize people for having been here "illegally" for decades. Join me in writing to our elected representatives to insist they abolish laws and systems that inhibit legal citizenship and alter them to be more fair and just. Let's truly have an immigration system that ensures the rights of all people living in this country.

— Marsha Smith, Colorado Springs

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