I am deeply concerned by the feelings that I often sense underlying the immigration debate today. I'm about as dyed-in-the-wool American as you can get. My ancestors fought in the revolutionary war. I love my country. But I will always prioritize people and their needs over any political borders. There often seems to be an attitude within the rhetoric of the immigration debate that we need to protect America for "Americans." We talk of "American jobs" and "American rights." There's a fear of immigrants taking over "our" country and "our" resources.

There is no such thing as American rights. Just human rights. Why are we afraid of others coming here and enjoying the same rights we do? My American citizenship doesn't make me any more deserving of a good job, good education, safety, security and justice than anyone else. Many Americans enjoy the opportunity to work in other countries. Yet we get defensive if people from other countries seek employment here.

I believe we need immigration reform. I believe we need to make it harder to come here illegally and easier to come here legally. But my biggest concern as we approach this issue is that we do it reasonably and compassionately. I support the Utah Compact.

Laura Austin