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Your Views: Immigration program isnt good for Hall County
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A growing number of people seem to be questioning current immigration enforcement policies and attitudes.

As a Christian, I find the first significant challenge in the Bible, Leviticus 19:34: "You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God." I can't imagine Jesus disagreeing with that, especially since he and his parents spent time as immigrants in Egypt fleeing from King Herod.

On a more practical note, I suspect when you figure in all the lost revenue resulting from deporting and frightening off numerous Latinos who were not criminals, 287(g) has cost Hall County more than it has saved. It has most likely taken from Hall County far more human beings who were contributing to our local economy than who were hurting it.

Also, the claim that 287(g) has reduced crime simply does not stand up to national research. Any law enforcement expert will agree a major key to reducing crime is having the local community work with local police. A policy such as 287(g) which only frightens and alienates the Latino community can't be wise or helpful. No wonder only four counties in Georgia and fewer than 100 counties nationwide have signed up.

The larger issue seems to be our nation's broken immigration laws. Current immigration law encourages human rights violations and unconstitutional practices by allowing private companies like Corrections Corporation of America to operate numerous facilities like our own North Georgia Detention Center. In addition to its morally questionable cost cutting measures to "save the government money," it continues to be a major roadblock to redeveloping a key part of downtown Gainesville.

Perhaps a still larger issue is our own understanding of who we are as Americans and human beings created in God's image. All of our ancestors were once immigrants from another country. And since when did basic human rights only apply to documented American citizens? I encourage Gainesville and Hall County residents to look beyond conservative talk radio and do the research.

Alan Shope

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