The great House of Representatives immigration road show is blazing a trail around the country even as the August sun grows hotter by the minute.
In certain respects, the holding of hearings in parts of the country that are far from Washington D.C., and in other ways remote from the inner wheel of political debate, is not a bad idea.
Indeed, Congress should do this sort of town hall stuff more often – but preferably before the passage of the bill in question, and with real intent to foster open, informed debate.
As it is, the committee hearings are largely staged affairs aimed at confirming already set positions. Worse, in some cases they are being used to stoke positions and views that are ground more in fear and ignorance than they are in common sense and knowledge.
The effort by the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform to send representatives to all the hearings, or at least as many as can be covered, is an attempt to restore some balance to what is a virtual national standoff on immigration.
The widespread sense is that nothing is going to happen this side of the November mid-term elections.
But it is important nevertheless to remind lawmakers that there is a price to be paid for reducing what is indisputably an emotionally charged debate to one that rests far too much on stereotyping and a stubborn refusal to come up with legislation that is both reality-based and imaginative.