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Editorial: Debate on immigration should stay civil always

Illegal immigration is currently a very hot political topic in this election year. The issue has been discussed at Republican and Democratic presidential debates. Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently held a news conference and issued executive orders to de...

Illegal immigration is currently a very hot political topic in this election year.

The issue has been discussed at Republican and Democratic presidential debates. Gov. Tim Pawlenty recently held a news conference and issued executive orders to deal with illegal immigration. Sen. Joe Gimse, R-Willmar, and Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, held new conferences Thursday to discuss illegal immigration.

And there is an anti-immigration feeling or anti-amnesty faction in America.

The debate over immigration is ironic for America, a country built upon immigration. Times have changed and new immigrants are no longer as welcomed as they have been in the past.

As Sen. Gimse said Thursday, Minnesotans welcome immigrants who are here legally. There is a growing frustration as Gimse said with the identity theft and fraud associated with illegal immigration.

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Gimse and Ingebrigtsen are raising important issues to be discussed in Minnesota. Immigration concerns should not be ignored.

At the same time, care in the debate should be used.

All identity theft and fraud is not committed by illegal immigrants. So it is unfair to lay the full blame on this group of residents.

It is also wrong to blame all illegal immigrants for the terrorist dangers just because some previous terrorists were illegal immigrants in this country. This is stereotyping an entire class of people for the actions of a few.

America has historically stereotyped immigrant groups: Irish immigrants, Dutch immigrants, Chinese immigrants, Norwegian immigrants, Swedish immigrants, Polish immigrants, Russian immigrants, Chinese immigrants, Japanese immigrants, and Vietnamese immigrants. This stereotyping was not right then and it is not right now.

Debate over immigration policies in Minnesota and the United States is appropriate. Immigrant stereotyping is not. Everyone -- politicians and citizens -- should remain civil as America debates its current immigration issues.

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