February 5, 2017

Editorial: Super debacle on sanctuary question

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Worcester City Hall

An us-vs.-them attitude is perfectly OK — on the football field.

In real life, it can cause all sorts of problems.

Take the current hot-button topic of sanctuary cities, which was ubiquitous in the news around the country the last couple of weeks, and embarrassingly so in Worcester.

Mayor Joseph M. Petty and City Councilor-at-large Michael T. Gaffney are both at fault, and got results they deserve for getting local residents needlessly fired up over an issue too important for gamesmanship.

Immigrants and the immigrant experience are of course a huge part of U.S. history and identity. We have a vibrant democracy striving to promote peace, prosperity, equity and opportunity; and diversity and welcome are part of America’s winning formula. That welcome, though, isn’t automatic or without limits.

Struggling to keep the nation’s doors the right degree of open, in order to keep the United States strong, safe and its ideals alive, has vexed us for decades.

We cannot say this often enough: Democracy takes work, leadership and wisdom.

Immigration is a complicated topic. Watering it down to choosing sides — citizens vs. undocumented residents, Republicans vs. Democrats, local vs. federal government — is a distraction from the effort, reflection and action needed to collectively make the best choices. There will always be arguments and counterarguments in a vibrant democracy.

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