Now that construction on the Westwind development has begun and that controversy has died down, there was some question that Willmar may lose its place in the contest for the title of Redneck Capital of Minnesota.
Fortunately, the usual suspects on the City Council won't let that happen. They have a proposal to fan the embers of racial fear and animosity in this community into a roaring fire and to once again turn Willmar into a laughingstock in more enlightened communities.
With his re-election contest fast approaching, Joe Gimse has stepped forward to throw a little kerosene on the embers. We should not be too surprised.
Taking the low road worked for him in the last election. He can't find the money to operate schools in his district five days a week or to provide medical care for the poorest and sickest in his district, but he has proposed a surcharge (a tax, in reality) to fan the flames.
The large number of immigrants without legal status is a major problem for the nation. Only a national solution will work. Walls and fences don't work, because they will go over, under or around the walls and fences. Arrest and deportation doesn't work, because they will return. None of these work because of the demand for labor north of the border and the supply of labor south of the border.
The only solution that can work is comprehensive, national immigration reform that increases legal immigration, provides for legalization of many who are already here, and severely cracks down on the employment of anyone who has no legal status. This requires that anyone applying for a job produce a tamper-proof federal identification that may be used only to prove legal status for employment, and for no other purpose. It must be easily verifiable through a federal electronic database. This must be backed by severe penalties for employers who hire anyone without proper documentation.
John H. Burns