To the editor,

As we enter the Christmas season, our concern often turns to children, especially those most at risk, in our own country and around the world. Sadly, we now have images of crying little ones fleeing tear gas at our southern border to add to the list of heartbreaking situations.

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One wonders if there isn't a better way to address this humanitarian crisis. Perhaps the example of the Luna County, N.M., Public Schools can point the way. Four hundred children living in Palomas, Mexico, cross the border every school day to board school buses that transport them to elementary, middle school and high schools in Luna County. These children are American citizens, because they were born in New Mexico hospitals. (Our president has announced he would like to forbid this practice.) Interestingly, from 1950 to 1970, Mexican children were also welcomed on these school buses; not until 1970 did citizenship become a requirement. The towns in Luna County support this arrangement because they consider the residents of Palomas as neighbors, and believe educating these children is an investment in the future of their extended community, which just happens to have an international border dividing it.

If these children take advantage of this educational opportunity, they will become productive citizens in adulthood, contributing their skills and paying taxes. If they are not educated, they may require public support. Luna County is banking on the former scenario.

Let's encourage North Dakota's federal delegation to take examples like the Luna County Schools into account and insist they develop immigration legislation that respects the basic human rights of all children to live in safety and to have an education.

And as we celebrate Christmas, let us recognize that the hopes and fears of all the years just might be met in little towns in Luna County, N.M., where they know how to be a good neighbor and look after the needs of all children because it is the responsible thing to do, and ultimately, may be the most practical.

By giving, they get.

Kathleen Ness

Grand Forks