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19-year-old's story sends message about family immigration

The harrowing story of a 19-year-old who fled Guatemala in 2006 to reach her family in the United States only further intensifies the spotlight on U.S. immigration policy.

The girl had to flee Guatemala at age 11 in order to reunite with her parents, who made it across the border. Her mother made it to the U.S. on a tourist visa, while her father she had never met. She proceeded to take the long journey up through Mexico, often hiding away in luggage compartments to avoid detection by the authorities, to make it to the U.S.-Mexico border. Once there, she was detained by U.S. officials. Her father eventually saved her from immigration detention and they moved to Maryland.

As this story shows, there are some situations and circumstances where a person or a family who has entered the country illegally doesn't require the immigration enforcement to flex their muscles to the fullest extent. There are shades of gray with many immigration issues. Many people may view undocumented immigrants under one umbrella, and that they are all criminals.

That is a backwards, simplistic view of the issue. Yes, some undocumented immigrants may have sinister intentions. But their presence is dwarfed by the number of good people who are simply fleeing tough circumstances in Central American countries.

Having rules that fail to distinguish between the many different shades of gray that can occur with immigration cases also fails to properly address the issue at hand. We need clear, concise rules that provide good people with the opportunity to succeed in this country.

Source: ABC News, "How Failure to Reform Immigration Affects a Young Girl -- Again," Jake Lefferman, July 28, 2014

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