When the U.S. began restricting immigration during the early 20th century, the laws enacted reflected prejudices similar to those existing in America’s current immigration policies, according to Tracy Mitrano.

“There has always been a persistent dissonance between what we have in the law and what we have in practice,” Mitrano said. “It think it behooves us as we begin to reflect on our current circumstances that we recognize that dissonance.” 

As a follow-up to her online "Tuesdays With Tracy" conference which featured four panelists discussing immigration issues, Mitrano, the Democratic challenger for the 23rd Congressional district, which includes the Greater Olean area, released a statement clarifying her thoughts on the subject Thursday. 

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“We have a real problem,” Mitrano said. “It needs to be genuinely addressed, but not with discrimination, hate and prejudice.”

Mitrano made three points on how a “comprehensive immigration reform” proposal would function: expanded visas, smart borders and changes to DACA."

Regarding expanded visas, Mitrano spoke of workers who are living in America without legal permission.

“We need some form of earned documentation for people who have been here for decades in some cases, that have children in this country… so they don’t have to live in fear,” Mitrano said.

For her second point, Mitrano recommended “smart borders” (communication technologies), which she said can help officials monitor crime more effectively. Physical borders, she said, are not enough to deter crimes, such as the transporting of drugs, that occur because of international shipping and underground networks.

Her third point, a “clean dream act,” would not be “bargained,” Mitrano said.

“It would give young people, who were brought here by their parents as minors, citizenship so that we no longer place them in limbo,” Mitrano said. “When we place them in limbo, we place ourselves in limbo. They’re members of our community.”

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