I think that to begin to address the derogatory image of the immigrant, before there can be anything along the order of compassionate immigration reform, we need to re-learn who these migrants are. And I think that happens in face-to-face local settings, where people begin to hear the stories of these workers, begin to realize the compelling human interests that are driving them, and begin to recognize, really, the desperation that comes with poverty and that the immigrant’s search is really a search for the American dream. I think that when those dialogues occur, one-to-one, person-to-person, face-to-face, the image of the migrant can change into one of a virtuous contributor to the U.S. economy.

Steven Bender, author of “Run for the Border: Vice and Virtue in U.S.-Mexico Border Crossings,”