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The usual array of arguments marshaled to support or hinder immigration tends toward the abstract. The arguments often obscure rather than clarify. It's helpful to remember who we are talking about when we discuss "undocumented workers."

We're talking about people like Maria. Daniel Groody, immigration scholar, author, and Catholic priest, tells Maria's story like this:

"I remember meeting Maria, who came north from Guatemala and wanted to work in the United States for only two years, then return home to her family. I met her on the Mexican side of the border just before her third attempt. In the previous 10 days, she had tried twice to cross the border through a remote route in southern Arizona. On her first attempt, she was mugged at the border by bandito gangs. Though bruised and beaten, she continued her journey through the desert and ran out of food. Just before she reached the road, she was apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol and put in an immigration detention center. A few days later she tried again. This time, her coyote smuggler tried to rape her, but she managed to free herself and push her way through the desert once again. After four days of walking, she ran out of food, water, and even strength. The border patrol found her, helped her, and then sent her back to Mexico."

Dignity for Aliens

On the one hand, some advocates tell us to remember that immigrants are made in the image of God and have an essential dignity. That is true. But basic human dignity also belongs to the border agents, the coyote smuggler who tried to rape Maria, and legislators who seek to further restrict Maria from coming to the United States.

On the other hand, some complain about "lazy Hispanics" who desert their families and come to this ...

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