Tag Archives: illegal immigration

Chamber of Commerce v. Whiting before the Supremes

Remember this one? This case deals with series of laws passed in Arizona in response to the failure of the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws. As summarized by the ACLU in September:

As part of a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration laws, Congress adopted a series of carefully calibrated measures, beginning in the mid-1980s, to enforce the federal bar on hiring unauthorized immigrant workers while preserving the civil rights of immigrant and minority communities. Unsatisfied with these efforts, Arizona adopted its own law imposing far more severe sanctions on employers who hire workers that Arizona believes are unauthorized to work, and requiring employers to participate in a federal employment verification program that the federal government chose not to make mandatory.

The question of the case is whether Arizona has the power to enact certain laws through the “licensing” provision of the federal law. Yesterday, the Supreme Court held oral arguments on the case (a transcript is here).

As Josh Blackman notes, Justice Scalia went straight to the licensing issue during the arguments and “remarked that the “through licensing” provision is really the only avenue the federal government left open for the states to deal with immigration.” Because no one thought, when Congress enacted the federal law, that the federal government would fail to enforce the law, Arizona was left with only limited means of remedy.

JUSTICE SCALIA: That would be remarkable
only because nobody would think that with this scheme in place, the Federal Government would not enforce it. Of course no one would have expected that. But what Arizona says has occurred here is that the scheme in place has not been enforced, and Arizona and other States are in serious trouble financially and for other reasons because of — of unrestrained immigration. And therefore, they had to take this very massive — I agree this step is massive, and one wouldn’t have expected it to occur under this statute, but expectations change when the Federal Government has — has simply not enforced the immigration restrictions.

The Justices proceeded to debate, and discuss, the meaning of the word “licensing” and whether this really was the only outlet for Arizona to act. Check out a good summary and a few choice clips from the transcript at Josh Blackman’s blog.

Overall, prognosticators seem to think that the Justices leaned towards Arizona, predicting a 5-3 win for the state. Justice Kagan was not on the bench for the arguments.

Justice Kennedy, consistently a swing vote on the court, remarked that the state’s position–requiring that the voluntary federal E Verify program be mandatory–seemed to be at odds with federal policy. “You’re making it mandatory.  That is almost a classic example of doing something inconsistent with the federal requirement.”

Apropos: at least one of the Justices  did not seemed concerned with the licensing issue. Justice Sotomayor seemed more concerned with the issue of federal preemption. (She also made a faux pas when she referred to “illegal aliens,” quickly correcting herself with “undocumented aliens,” as she had used in previous opinions.)

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The Utah Compact on Immigration

If you care about immigration, an interesting thing happened a couple days ago. Some of Utah‘s leaders–religious, political, and secular–joined together to propose an a set of principles on to guid the immigration reform discussion. It is seen as an alternative to recent proposals such as those passed in Arizona and proposed for Utah by Utah state Rep. Steven Sandstrom.

Labeled a “Declaration of Five Principles to Guide Utah’s Immigration Discussion,” the document lays out simple and clear parameters for keeping the policy discussion on immigration both moral and constitutional policy. In full, it states:

FEDERAL SOLUTIONS Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries—not Utah and other countries. We urge Utah’s congressional delegation, and others, to lead efforts to strengthen federal laws and protect our national borders. We urge state leaders to adopt reasonable policies addressing immigrants in Utah.

LAW ENFORCEMENT We respect the rule of law and support law enforcement’s professional judgment and discretion. Local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code.

FAMILIES Strong families are the foundation of successful communities. We oppose policies that unnecessarily separate families. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education and well-being of all Utah children.

ECONOMY Utah is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. We acknowledge the economic role immigrants play as workers and taxpayers. Utah’s immigration policies must reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state.

A FREE SOCIETY Immigrants are integrated into communities across Utah. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion. The way we treat immigrants will say more about us as a free society and less about our immigrant neighbors. Utah should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill.

Unsurprisingly, Representative Stephen Sandstrom was not sanguine when he heard about it, especially since one of the supporters, though not a signer, was the LDS Church, local to Salt Lake City, and a political behemoth in Utah politics in the few rare circumstances where it decides to weigh in (more than 80 percent of Utah lawmakers are LDS, and more than 60 percent of the state’s population is LDS). Sandstrom did not sound like he was going to back down, however unhappy he was about the LDS Church’s position.

“I kind of wish I’d been given more of a heads-up because it is taking aim at the bill I’m doing,” Sandstrom lamented Thursday. “My other thought was that I thought the church’s no-position was the best way to go and to let this be the purview of government.”

Among the other signers were former Govs. Olene Walker and Norm Bangerter, Salt Lake Chamber President Lane Beattie and Paul Mero, president of the Sutherland Institute, as well as current attorney general Mark Shurtleff. I compact is available for signing online, and it expands upon the list of notables who support the Compact, including former US Senator Jake Garn, former US Representative Jim Hansen, Salt Lake County Councilman Joe Hatch, and Mayor Peter Corroon.

What does this mean for immigration proposals in the 2011 legislative session? Because of the broad support behind the Compact, as well as the weight of the LDS Church, immigration is about to get more interesting. This takes the issue out of a squarely partisan playing field and puts individuals into a position where they must consider why they support immigration reform. The nut at the heart of the Compact is three-fold–1) immigration policy should be moral; 2) immigration is the federal government’s purview, not the states’; and 3) immigration policy should be made on principles that have made America great–the free market and a free society.

One of the interesting effects of the Compact is that it defuses a lot of the anger mongering that the right has seen used to stir-up the base. Because of the moral, and religious, authority of the LDS Church, Utah Mormon conservatives will find themselves in the position of rethinking how they view immigration policy and the basis for those positions.

Last, I think it important to note that this does not mean that immigration should not be reformed. It’s clear as the statutory language in the Kurzban Immigration Law Sourcebook sitting on my desk is unclear that immigration needs reform. My hope is that the reform that comes, when it finally comes, does more good than harm.

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Immigration Debate: Federal or state purview?

The Constitution in Peril
Image by Renegade98 via Flickr

Recently, the local Deseret News has seen debate on its opinion page, and carried over in the Facebook-sphere, on the immigration issue, especially as it relates to whether immigration policy is the purview of states or the federal government, and in many respects, it returns to Constitutional interpretation by the political right (though I am not clear that it falls on party lines).  Two opinions in particular have debate it, and because one (“Immigration a matter for the federal government, which hasn’t delivered,” August 8, 2010) is in direct response to the other (“Border security not federal purview,” August 3, 2010), I’ve posted them below.

It’s an interesting discussion, and I believe it reflects, in many ways, a growing disenchantment with the expanding reach of the federal government in to the lives of American citizens.  However, the views expressed of the authors are their own, and I present them only as food for thought and consideration.  I do not blame the growth of the federal government on either party alone; indeed, much of what the Obama Administration has been able to accomplish has only been possible because of what the Bush Administration did during its eight year tenure.

The first opinion below is by Connor Boyack (he is found on Twitter as @cboyack), a blogger, communications coordinator for the Utah County Campaign for Liberty, “a 20-something web designerpolitical economist, and budding philanthropist.”

In the wake of Arizona’s immigration law and “the list” of 1,300 alleged illegal immigrants, people in Utah and around the country are debating the ever-present issue of immigration at a fever pitch. For all the resulting discourse, however, it seems that nearly everybody has assumed that federal immigration law is proper.

This view is mistaken, although understandable. More than a century of precedent has led Americans to believe that the power to regulate and restrict immigration is a federal one. Time, however, does not confer authority; if an individual health care mandate is unconstitutional today, yet still implemented, the passage of 100 years does not make it right.

It is an interesting exercise to ask supporters of federal immigration law where the government derives its authority on this issue. The varying responses given are as numerous as those offered by the U.S. Supreme Court over the years. One would think that if such a power existed, we could at least agree on what text in the Constitution applies.

A common citation of constitutional authority is Congress’ power to “establish a uniform rule of naturalization,” though both a colonial-era definition of the word naturalization, as well as a litany of quotes from framers of the document in question, clarify that naturalization has only to do with the specific process that makes an alien a citizen. The stretching of naturalization to somehow encompass an individual’s travel through and residence within the United States is without constitutional support.?

Some also point to Congress’ power to repel invasions, arguing that the flood of immigrants crossing the border invade our country, use our resources, burden our social welfare programs and bring with them gang violence and drug warfare. However, this supposed invasion is no orchestrated campaign by a distinct group; Juan’s peaceful and individual migration to America cannot reasonably be classified as being part of some coordinated effort to invade America.

James Madison argued in Federalist 43, in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, and in his Report of 1800 that the power to repel invasions only was meant for protection when a state was attacked by another state, or when the country was being subjected to a coordinated military strike. While some gang activity may possibly apply here, it is patently absurd to classify all migration as a legitimate and actual invasion.

Historically, the commerce clause was used to justify federal immigration law, but this dealt mainly with slavery or state-based migration taxes, and few would try to so twist this clause as to apply to the modern migration of individuals across our borders.

The last justification often used is a vague and boundless reference to the country’s sovereignty, where it is argued that the country must “secure its borders” as a matter of “national security” and that the power to do so comes as an inherent right of being a sovereign nation. Not only are the states the sovereign entities in our federal republic, but the federal government cannot legitimately act unless it has been delegated the power to do so by the states under the U.S. Constitution.

Federal immigration laws have no constitutional authority, and unless an amendment to the Constitution is ratified by the states to delegate that power, the states should retake and affirm their power to manage immigration within their borders. Given that “illegal immigrants” have violated federal immigration laws, which exist without proper authority, the proper action for those who support and uphold the Constitution is to advocate amnesty for those whose only crime is noncompliance with these illegitimate laws.

The response to Connor Boyack’s opinion piece was published in the same publication, the Deseret News, on Sunday, August 8, 2010.  It was co-written by Ben Lusty, an attorney in private practice in Salt Lake City, Utah, and Daniel Burton (he is found on Twitter as @publiusdb), an attorney in Utah and the Chair of the Utah Young Republicans.

We recently read the “My View” by Connor Boyack (“Border security not federal purview,” Aug. 2) with great interest, and feel it necessary to respond to Mr. Boyack’s extreme views. Were we to follow his logic, we would find our country crossed and conflicted with 50 separate immigration policies, creating uncertainty and jeopardizing freedom of movement. The federal government, despite its many faults and heretofore failure to act in this arena, is best situated to secure our borders and establish uniform immigration laws. We, too, are frustrated with the federal government’s immigration policy failures, and do not object to a state’s right to enforce existing federal immigration law. However, upending the constitutional infrastructure of the nation is no solution.

Mr. Boyack’s major flaw is his narrow-minded reading of the Constitution, especially Article I, Section 8, which includes a full grant of authority to Congress to establish rules of naturalization. Mr. Boyack argues, without citing evidence, that the framers understood this grant of federal authority absurdly narrowly and meant it only to empower Congress to grant citizenship to aliens, not as power to establish comprehensive immigration law.

Hundreds of years of Supreme Court precedent refute Mr. Boyack, but he blithely dismisses the constitutional authority of the judiciary with the aphorism that a hundred years of wrong precedent is still wrong. But Mr. Boyack’s way of thinking is illogical. How can Congress logically exercise its undisputed plenary power over naturalization if it lacks the authority to admit or exclude aliens from the country in the first place? What if Congress wants to grant citizenship to an individual that the state of California refuses to admit to the nation? We doubt the Founders were so shortsighted as to create such a painfully foreseeable crisis.

Further, Mr. Boyack’s analysis ignores other important constitutional language. For example, he largely ignores the commerce clause. Congress has authority to regulate interstate and international commerce, and there is no doubt that immigration affects national commerce. Moreover, Mr. Boyack completely ignores Article II of the Constitution. Article II grants the executive branch broad power to implement foreign and defense policy. Immigration affects both, but under Mr. Boyack’s vision, the states would seize this authority from the federal government.

More tellingly, Mr. Boyack has not accounted for Article IV, which provides that a properly ratified treaty is the supreme law of the land. States cannot have paramount authority to exercise control over immigration if the federal government can likewise enact a treaty with a foreign nation affecting immigration policy.

Mr. Boyack, wearing a guise of “originalism,” simply interprets away the plain meaning and clear intent of constitutional language, attempting to substitute the words of a few founders as definitive of the collective work of the founding generation. What Mr. Boyack posits is a radical interpretation — that states (all 50 of them) have the power to set their own immigration policy.

Despite our disagreement with Mr. Boyack’s interpretation of the Constitution, we agree with the majority of the population that the federal government has not effectively addressed immigration. Most people are not sensitive to the fine distinctions between federal and state power in our Constitution, but they do care about results, which the federal government has not delivered. We suspect that many advocates for enhancing the power of states at the expense of the federal government are more concerned with the failure of federal policy generally than with Constitutional jurisprudence.

The federal government is institutionally better situated than the states to deal with immigration. The question that Mr. Boyack fails to answer is whether we want 50 immigration policies. Therefore, based on reasons of pragmatism, law, and politics — the same reasons that the Founders came together at Philadelphia to “form a more perfect union,” we refute Mr. Boyack’s myopic view of state authority. Immigration policy is, by and in large, the purview of the federal government. What we do to bring about the changes in the federal government to resolve our immigration policy problems is another discussion altogether.

Getting educated on immigration

The United States

Image via Wikipedia

Immigration has become a hot topic.  A hot topic at dinner, a hot topic on the news and in the opinion pages, a hot topic at the water cooler, and a hot topic for the voting public.  Bloggers and talking heads are having a hay-day with it, and there’s no shortage of opinions out there, nor is there any shortage of the variety of opinions.

As this tumult of words grows, and I have no doubt that it will increase, at least up until the November elections if not beyond then, I have begun to wonder how much information is rooted in the opinions.  A good friend of mine is fond of pointing out that we live in a republic precisely because there just isn’t enough time for all of us to get all the information necessary for a functioning democracy.  Perhaps immigration has become an example of that shortage of information, or at least shortage of informed voters, a shortage that makes informed and effective decision-making difficult.  Elected officials, the policy makers, are caught between pandering to their electorates and creating good policy.  Electorates are manipulated by talk show demagogues or a complete gap in information altogether.  And in the middle are the immigrants and their employers–here because they want a better life.

This point was driven home to me last night when a speaker at an event I was attending–ostensibly, a lobbyist for a company that never ceases to raise the ire of the press in the town where I live–stated that the best way to win an argument, or a policy discussion, is with education. When people have accurate facts, they tend to make better choices.

With this in mind, I’ve started to gather some of the relevant facts about immigration so that I can make an informed decision, or at least so that I can inform policy makers with accurate information. Here are a few of the things I’ve learned in recent days:

  • although immigration will not substantially arrest the aging of the American population, openness to immigration means that the United States will face fewer of the economic and social pressures that will mount as a growing number of Americans retire and are supported by a smaller working-age population
  • over the years, immigration has brought the United States an inordinate level of the world’s talent and education as a higher standard of living and economic opportunity has brought skilled individuals here
  • targeted and focused border and immigration measures can make the US less vulnerable to another major terrorist attack; however, if these same measures disrupt the flow of talented immigrants to the US or significantly disrupt legitimate cross-border travel or commerce, America’s economic and military strength will be weakened.
  • immigrants provide a valuable language and cultural recruiting pool important to 21st century conflicts and in short supply among Americans.
  • one of the most successful forms of US public diplomacy to project a positive image abroad has been to allow non-Americans to travel to the United States
  • how we handle immigration policy speaks to America’s core values.  We have a right to determine who will live here and to enforce those rules, but those who violate them must be treated with respect and decency and fairness
  • Serious criminals, even if here legally but not a citizen, can and should be deported.  This should include for felony level crimes, and should discriminate from more minor offenses and allow for flexibility for extenuating circumstance
  • economic development in developing countries is the best way to discourage immigration, and one of the best ways to encourage development is through open immigration policies in the US
  • there is little evidence that immigrants come to America to go on welfare, rather than to work, flee persecution or join family members in the United States. [CATO]
  • With the exception of refugees, eligibility for programs usually requires immigrants to have been in the United States for 5 years or more in a lawful immigrant status. [CATO]
  • If immigrants have been seeking states with lenient benefit eligibility, then they’re not doing a good job. Author and Wall Street Journaleditorial writer Jason Riley notes many states with recent large increases in their immigrant populations, such as Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Georgia, are primarily states with low and below average social spending. [CATO]
  • Congress enacted a complete ban on supplemental security income for non-citizens who enter the United States after August 22, 1996.
  • Immigrant men, ages 18 to 64, are more likely to work than native-born Americans. According to 2004 Census data analyzed by the Pew Hispanic Center, the labor force participation rate for legal immigrant males in that age group is 86 percent, compared to 83 percent for native-born males. The rate is even higher-92 percent-for illegal immigrant males. Immigrant women are more likely to be married and have children, according to Census data, and this leads to a lower labor force participation rate-64 percent for legal immigrant women vs. 73 percent for native-born women.

And that’s just a few.  Are there any others you would like to add to it?  I’m sure I will add more in the coming weeks and months.

Much ado about immigration in Utah

Map of USA with Utah highlighted
Image via Wikipedia

There’s a scandal brewing in Utah over a list of alleged illegal immigrants that was sent to a number of government leaders with a demand for action.  A conservative bastion in the west, even the lone Democrat in Utah’s congressional delegation, Jim Matheson, votes with his Republican colleagues almost as often as he does with Nancy Pelosi.  As the immigration debate across the country has heated, Utah has kept pace and proposals have been floated to introduce legislation that would mirror Arizona’s.  (To be honest, the legislator, Stephen Sandstrom, and his proposals have been both pilloried–here, here, and here,  and praised–by the  “Patrick Henry Caucus”–though not necessarily in that order).

Suffice to say, between Arizona’s new law, the federal lawsuit regarding the law, a very hotly contested Utah Senate race, the ambient energy of angry Tea Party-ists, and the proposed legislation to match Arizona’s have all combined to create a sometimes heated atmosphere around the current immigration debate.  Then someone compiled and sent a letter containing 1,300 names of alleged illegal immigrants.  Reported by the Salt Lake Tribune:

The list includes their birth dates, telephone numbers and addresses. In a few cases, the list also included Social Security numbers and employers. Almost every surname is Latino.

Also inside was an unsigned letter, dated April 4, from a group calling itself “Concerned Citizens of the United States” and addressed to “Customs and Immigration.”

The group said they “strongly believe” people on the list are undocumented immigrants who should be deported. The names were compiled, according to the letter, by observing the individuals.

“We then spend the time and effort needed to gather information along with legal Mexican nationals who infiltrate their social networks and help us obtain the necessary information we need to add them to our list,” the letter explains.

The accuracy of the list is unclear. Some phone numbers were disconnected or answered by a different person.

Apparently the list was sent to a number of individuals in state government, as well as the media. It contained, in addition to their personal information, a demand for action.

The mysterious list — almost entirely including Latino surnames — came with a cover letter demanding people on the list be “deported immediately” with a call to “DO YOUR JOB AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES! WE DEMAND ACTION.”

Needless to say, the letter raises a number of issues, not the least of which is how was the information obtained and compiled, and, because of concern that state government data bases were used to find the information, Utah Governor Herbert, as well as several state agencies, is looking into it.

Herbert on Tuesday ordered several state agencies to determine whether computer records were accessed inappropriately to create the detailed list, which arrived by mail Monday at media outlets, law enforcement agencies, and the state House and Senate.

“If it reveals any kind of evidence of wrongdoing or release of private information we will turn it over to the Attorney General’s Office,” said Angie Welling, Herbert’s spokeswoman.

Utah law makes it a misdemeanor to disclose government data not meant for public dissemination, though there are protections for whistle blowers. The list included names, addresses, birth dates, phone numbers, and 31 social security numbers. Also included: the names and dates of birth of 201 children, and the due dates of six pregnant women. Almost every surname is Latino.

According to a privacy attorney quoted in the Salt Lake Tribune, even gathering the information may be illegal.

Compiling and distributing the list itself could be illegal. If the compilers took data from state or local databases not available to the public, they could be charged with a misdemeanor under state law, said Jeff Hunt, a Utah media attorney. If the group lied to obtain the data, that could be fraud.

Asked whether he was aware of similar efforts, Hunt said, “I’ve never heard of anything close.”

And, of course, immigration advocacy groups are furious over the disclosure of the privacy information contained in the letters, as well as what sending the letters does for the debate in Utah over immigration.

Frank Cordova, president of the group Central Civico Mexicano, said the release of the information is destructive to efforts to bring people together to reform immigration policy, “rather than trying to cut so many people’s throats and hurt them in the manner this is coming down.”

“I can’t even imagine being a brown person and being undocumented, and to find yourself on a list or on the other side [wondering] when someone is going to put you on a list if your name’s not there right now,” he said.

So, I ask you, as was asked by KVNU’s Jason Williams: “Vigilante wing-nuttery, or just “concerned citizens” demanding action?”

Predictably, the “usual suspects” are scrambling to disavow and condemn the letter.

Ron Mortensen, a spokesman for the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration, objected to the methods behind the list and the tactic of making people’s private information public. Mortensen also told KTVX Channel 4“Nobody should be acting on this information. If this gets out into the public I’d say disregard it. It is not a proven source. It is not proven information so just disregard it.” His objections are prudent, since media investigation has already uncovered erroneous information on the list. Another activist, Eli Cawley of the Utah Minuteman Project, said he also disapproves of the list because he doubts its accuracy and it could disparage American citizens. But Cawley also said the effort reflects the compilers’ frustration with illegal immigration.

And yet, the “usual suspects” are not that angry about the letter.  After all, while it’s completely unacceptable to break the law to enter the country, breaking the law to deport illegal immigrants is probably ok by their rationale.  KSL reported:

“If you had a legitimate list that didn’t unnecessarily or negligently point out citizens and legal residents, then I think that would serve the greater interest,” [Utah Minuteman Project co-chair Eli] Cawley told KSL Newsradio Tuesday.

Cawley says the interest of protecting the people of Utah outweighs the privacy of illegal immigrants.

“It’s probably against some privacy laws,” Cawley said. “But I think in the interest of preserving our civilization, preserving our society and protecting the people of the state of Utah, I think that’s a greater interest than protecting the privacy of some individuals.”

Besides, Cawley says he believes intrusions into privacy happen all the time.

“I think my phone calls are monitored, and I believe my information is gone through by any number of different groups, so yeah, our privacy is definitely compromised,” Cawley said.

Cawley says he should have been the one putting the list together, if he had the information.

[emphasis added]

Hmmm…so it’s ok to break the law as long as it’s in the interest of preserving our civilization.  And what exactly about illegal immigration is destroying our civilization?

Also predictably, the letter has set off a storm of response.  As reported by the blog Voice of Deseret, the comments on the stories have been rolling in fast and furious:

[…] KSL’s initial July 12th story attracted 832 public comments, and their July 13th follow-up has attracted 867 comments so far.

Also of concern is the origins of the list and what it means for legal immigrants that have Hispanic names.  Calls by reporters found that the list was not entirely accurate as some of the individuals said they were here legally.  Others are afraid of having their families torn apart as legal immigrants are left behind when undocumented immigrants are deported.

“My mother-in-law was almost in tears when she heard about it.” Guadalupe is not concerned for herself. She says she has her documents. She is concerned for other members of her family. “Just for someone putting a name on here, we all can be torn apart,” she said.

One woman who asked to remain anonymous said she feared for her future, “Because I have a son and he is from here and I don’t want them to take him away.” She admitted that she and her family do not have the proper documents to be in this country, but she said in 9 years they have earned their own way, paid taxes, been a help to some and a burden to none. She wants to know why that wasn’t taken into consideration by the people who made the list. She pleaded, “They need to understand before acting.”

Who sent the list?

So beyond just the list, what else is in the letter?  Who are these anonymous individuals and why do they hide behind a cloak of anonymity? According to them, they are–

[…] simply citizens who continue to see the degradation of our country caused in part by the continuing presence of illegal aliens who are allowed to stay in our country.  Some of the women are pregnant and steps should be taken for immediate deportation.

Ok, so they probably aren’t very happy with the direction the country has taken recently, and they place the cause of that direction squarely at the feet of pregnant Mexicans.  Really.  They use the word Mexican in the letter.  They go on:

We welcome any person into our country who has come here legally and is totally self-sufficient.

The underline is their emphasis, not mine.  So we can learn that these people also are not welcoming of people who have come here legally BUT are not self-sufficient.  So does that mean everyone not self-sufficient has to go back to their country of origin?  And what does self-sufficient mean?  That you grow your own produce, raise your own beef, and sew your own clothes?  That you pay cash for your home or built it from materials that you produced yourself?  That you never took out a loan to pay for a car (made in Japan, or by a Japanese company), to pay for education (a loan subsidized by the US government in a Stafford Loan or Pell Grant), or to buy a home (also subsidized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac)?  That you don’t put your money in an FDIC insured bank account?  That you don’t use public transit (also subsidized with federal and state money)?  That you don’t drive on the interstate (produced with federal money)?  Attended public schools (subsidized with state and federal money)?

Apparently, self-sufficiency is pretty important…so important that it was underlined instead of “legally.” Someone give me heads up if they know ANYONE that is totally self-sufficient.

But that’s just a part of the letter.  Read the whole thing, here.

The last thing that really sticks in my craw is the anonymity of the group.  Why anonymity?  If they are so confident that they are doing the right thing, and not breaking any laws, why hide their identities?  What’s wrong with standing behind their beliefs?  Are they cowards?  Are they criminals now that they’ve broken the law to stalk these individuals and out them to the world?

Stay tuned.  Immigration is a touchy topic, and it doesn’t cut down the usual party lines.  Sending letters like this to the public and to government agencies does little to help resolve a major public issue.  Rather, it divides and polarizes and makes it difficult to bring the appropriate parties to the table.  Hiding under the guise that they “love” their country and “love” the Constitution does not compensate that they are acting without love for how and why their country was founded and what the Constitution was intended to do.

Stock Photo of the Consitution of the United S...
Image by Rosie O’Beirne via Flickrpolicy

Nor does it show much love for their fellow-man, a slightly higher law than state or federal law.  Whether or not these undocumented or illegal immigrants are breaking the law, the manner in which this letter was propagates, and it’s very existence, as well as the extremely prejudicial language used within it displays a disregard for illegal immigrants as human beings, not to mention a superiority in status of those who drafted it.  It is one thing to actively advocate for immigration reform; it is another thing entirely to cast the debate into a fight over the future of civilization, “our” civilization, using racial and ethnic overtones.  I belong to that civilization, and I see nothing in it that does not leave room for others to participate in it.

(Thanks to the Salt Lake Tribune, KSL, Voice of Deseret, KVNU For the People, and ABC4.

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