Check out this great Turkey-day post from the folks at Immigration Impact, about how to approach the topic of immigration reform with those sometimes-difficult friends and family members gathered around your Thanksgiving table:
Be practical. You are not necessarily going to win your loved ones over with one brilliant analysis. But you can ask questions that get them thinking differently. Ask them what the solution is from their perspective? Can we really afford to deport 12 million people? How can legalization be an amnesty when it requires people to register, pay taxes, stay right with the law and “earn” citizenship? Wouldn’t you rather have folks paying taxes at their full potential than being paid under the table and not paying their full share? These kinds of questions really do start the dialogue.
Find common ground. It may sound hokey, but most of us want the same things for ourselves and our families. Go back to your own immigrant roots—how was Grandma or even Great-Grandpa treated when they came over from Italy? What did they want for their future? Where would we be today without those immigrants who took a risk? The more people realize that they have a personal stake in getting immigration right, the more likely they are to move from opposed to open to suggestion.
Remember, everyone has a friend who defies the stereotype. I’ve had plenty of conversations that start out so badly, but then I hear, “well, I do have this friend that taught himself English, put himself through school and now employs fifteen people” Seriously. Immigration, like all social issues is neither black nor white but many shades of grey.