I wish the words “open borders” had never entered the national conversation. Since the genie is out of the bottle, however, let’s talk about the real situation, what the people of Maine want and the effect of current immigration policy on the U.S. as a whole.

What I hear most from people in Maine is that they generally want to be welcoming to immigrants, but they are very concerned that we don’t import criminals and terrorists. That immigrants should be willing, even wanting, to assimilate. And that immigrants, particularly those who came here illegally, should not be entitled to aid and support funded by legal, taxpaying citizens.

Over the past 30 years or more, both Democrats and Republicans have proposed almost identical immigration reforms. The problem is they’ve been locked in a battle over semantics and, even worse, over who gets credit for solving the problem – and credit means votes.

As a Libertarian, it’s difficult for me to support any restrictions on personal liberty – including free movement across borders. Some people interpret this mindset to mean we don’t support sovereignty, or worse, that we favor “world government” or globalization.

We’ve got to defend our borders, our citizens and our resources. We’ve also got to recognize the benefits of sensible immigration policy and the role immigration plays in our heritage.

The answer is not compromise. It’s not about finding “middle ground.” It’s about looking at the problem from a new perspective – a higher level. To get the job done, there is one border we’ve all got to be willing to cross: the border between red and blue.

Jim Bouchard

Libertarian candidate for U.S. House, 1st Congressional District

Brunswick