Yes to the "Utah Compact", No to Arizona-Style Immigration Reform

A couple of months ago, I wrote here that I prefer the style of immigration reform supported by Utah Senator Luz Robles, rather than that being proposed by Representative Steve Sandstrom. I'm not sure whether Senator Robles was involved in today's announcement of the Utah Compact, but it is what I strongly support as an excellent foundation for immigration reform in Utah--and anywhere.

Just last week a family was deported back to Argentina from Utah, after they had lived here for ten years, and during which time they had been trying to become American citizens.  Their children are completely unfamiliar with Argentina, and they face danger now that they have returned (or in some cases arrived for the first time) in Argentina.  Is this what immigration should be?  No.

Good immigration law should do its best to keep families together and to not place them in dangerous circumstances. I hope that these kinds of deportations will soon be a thing of the past.  Several community leaders, in the past few minutes, have come together at the Utah State Capitol to ask that, in consideration of immigration reform, Utah legislators should take family health and integrity into account.

Consensus is building around what is called the Utah Compact, which is divided into five areas
  • FEDERAL SOLUTIONS — That "Immigration is a federal policy issue..."
  • LAW ENFORCEMENT —  That local law enforcement should "focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code."
  • FAMILIES — That all laws should support and foster strong families and "and improve the health, education and well-being of all Utah children."
  • ECONOMY —  That we should recognize and respect the significant contributions that all immigrants make to Utah's economy.
  • A FREE SOCIETY — That free societies are inclusive and that we should celebrate all cultures and history, and that "Utah should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill."
In something so controversial, it is often difficult to remember the paramount issue, that all people are children of God, and that we should strive to continually treat each other as such.  The LDS Church, however, is one organization that has not looked beyond the mark of this most important aspect.  The Church of Jesus Christ today announced its support for the principles contained in the Utah Compact. In its statement, the Church said
"We follow Jesus Christ by loving our neighbors. The Savior taught that the meaning of 'neighbor' includes all of God's children, in all places, at all times.

"We recognize an ever-present need to strengthen families. Families are meant to be together. Forced separation of working parents from their children weakens families and damages society.
Now that's the kind of immigration reform I'm talking about. Arizona-style immigration laws were no doubt crafted in large part by people of good will who were trying to solve what they see as a clear problem. But the Arizona will leave a gaping and festering wound, and the approach won't work.

The Utah Compact approach will work. As a veteran of the United States military who has gone overseas to protect America's freedom, I hope to look back on Veteran's Day 2010 as not only the day that due respect was paid to military veterans, but also the beginning of the triumph of respect for diversity and the day that good, healthy American immigration reform began.


  1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....stupid tea party idiots believed Lee was going to be different. Ha ha ha ha you got duped. Ha ha ha names lobbyist as his cheif of staff. Nothing changes. Should've voted Granato.

  2. For once you and I agree Frank (except for the people of good will part).

    Not one Democrat in the Arizona Legislature supported or voted for that bill. It was pushed by conservative Republicans who were driven by fear and prejudice and a need to strike out at President Obama and a Democratic Congress.

    We have the same coalition in Utah based mainly in Utah Country who identify themselves with the Patrick Henry Caucus. Hopefully the LDS Church weighing in on the issue is enough to thwart their "bad will" in this state.

  3. I'm glad we mostly agree. You are probably right, and I had wishful thinking on the "people of goodwill" part. There was an interesting NPR article a couple of weeks back that indicated that a group called ALEC(?) and the Corrections Corporation of America, which has a TON of conflict of interest in supporting the Arizona law, were pushing hard to get it passed (


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