Immigration: The Case for Amnesty

For politicians it's a nuclear term, but Nathan Thornburgh argues that amnesty is what's best for illegals — and Americans

Jon Lowenstein / Aurora Select for TIME

After being detained for trying to cross the border illegally, these would be immigrants were processed at the Border Patrol headquarters in McAllen, Texas.

Amnesty has emerged as the pariah term of the immigration debate, disavowed even by those who believe in its goals. But what are the alternatives to letting illegals stay? Deporting millions? Devising other punishments? Doing nothing at all? Few places have struggled with these questions as much as rural Beardstown, Ill., where an April immigration raid at the town's largest employer exposed a community that is both dependent on its undocumented workers and deeply resentful of their presence. Why legalizing the illegals makes sense for Beardstown — and for America.


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