Dennis Potvin - Tennessee Democrat

Legal Immigration and Naturalization

As national lawmakers argue about walls and deportation forces, I believe that Tennessee should take the lead and provide a solution that is practical and makes sense. We know that we have immigrant workers in our tobacco, soybean, corn and wheat fields across the state. We can assume that many are not naturalized citizens. In the interest of security, our economy and for the benefit of everyone, they need to join the path to citizenship via the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has operations in Nashville and online. That’s a good start, but it’s not enough. Many of our illegal immigrants cannot navigate a sophisticated website, nor do they have easy access to the internet or a reliable method of travel to Nashville. USCIS needs offices in more than just the state capitol. At the very least, USCIS could rent office space in our Career Centers on certain days so that local immigrants know exactly when and where to go. We need to encourage their disclosure by making this process easy. Clarksville is the fifth largest city in the state, and I predict that we will soon become the fourth-largest. We need a USCIS office here in town that promotes its existence through advertising that reaches –and finds - migrant workers. Many of these people are extremely hard-working and need to step out of the shadows and begin the process of naturalization.

© 2017 Dennis Potvin
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