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|The Church and Immigration Law|
Apr. 30th, 2010 at 12:28 pm
Given the heated discussions over Arizona’s recently-passed immigration law (SB1070), I think it would be useful to look at the Church’s most recent commentary on immigration. In 2008, when the Utah legislature was looking at passing a series of laws to crack down on illegal immigration, the First Presidency sent Elder Marlin K. Jensen (a lifelong Democrat) to discuss illegal immigration with legislators. From the Deseret News’ reporting of one event:
An LDS Church leader on Wednesday urged Utah’s lawmakers to “take a step back” and hold a “spirit of compassion” as they consider a slate of bills aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.
The Church has not spoken out on Arizona’s recent bill, but they might, and it would be interesting to get their perspective on it.
In the meantime, it’s interesting to see how predictable the arguments are, and how selective people are in acknowledging the implications of their policy arguments. On the left, people are voicing their typical reactions to any immigration law: it’s “fascism!,” “racism!,” “xenophobic!,” etc, while on the right, SB1070 is being celebrated and defended, with little thought to the law’s problematic concepts of “lawful contact” and “reasonable suspicion” that give state law enforcement officers license to do racial or other profiling.
The left’s immigration arguments choose to ignore the horrific impact of illegal immigration on border states’ public-services budgets, and potentially on national security. For once, I would like to see someone on the left acknowledge the question of OTMs (“Other Than Mexican” nationals) in their immigration policy pronouncements:
In March 2005, Time magazine published a restricted bulletin based on the interrogation of a former lieutenant of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi. Al Zarqawi, the most wanted man in Iraq, is (was-ed.) the Jordanian-born head of a terrorist group that calls itself the Organization of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. According to the document, Zarqawi was planning attacks against ‘‘soft targets’’ like cinemas, restaurants, and schools in the United States. Intelligence agents who questioned the aide told Time that Zarqawi had spoken of obtaining a ‘‘visa in Honduras’’ as the first step to steering his minions to the United States via Mexico.2
Those of us who are bothered at the prospect of racial profiling also have to acknowledge that racial profiling is being used by terrorists to exploit the vulnerability that is our Southern border. I hate the idea of people being singled out by their race for any kind of investigation that would not occur with the majority of Americans, but in the end, the responsibility for that tragic reality rests with terrorists, human traffickers, drug smugglers, and others who are seeking to bring hell to America through our border, and using brown skin as cover for their crimes.
Of course, intellectual blinders are not unique to the left; conservative arguments on immigration, particularly during primary season, show a brazen cluelessness and willful disregard for the sense of humanity that so many of us believe is a founding element of our country’s character.
Here is Mitt Romney on immigration in March 2007:
Here is Mitt Romney on immigration in December 2007:
Conservatives who agree with Romney’s latter “deport ’em all” position need to answer the following policy questions:
1. Is a mass deportation of 12 million people possible?
For question #4, consider the hypothetical case of Maria, a 10-year old girl whose parents came to the U.S. illegally 14 years ago while fleeing drug violence in Ciudad Juarez. She was born in the U.S., and has only her parents to support her here. She and her parents have no home or employment to return to in Mexico, while here they are able to share a meager 1-bedroom apartment and take care of their basic necessities.
Conservatives like Mitt Romney, sensing that The Base needs red meat during primary season, choose to believe that Maria does not exist, because to acknowledge the hundreds of thousands or millions of people in her situation would actually force them to come up with a well-informed proposal for dealing with immigration. At the end of the day, a good solution to the problem of illegal immigration is going to be extremely tough in sealing the border to terrorists and criminals, and extremely realistic and humane in how it treats decent, hard-working people who are already here.
Back to Elder Jensen’s 2008 effort- the Deseret News also reported lawmakers’ reactions to Elder Jensen’s assignment:
Really? The bill was compassionate and well thought out? Then why did the First Presidency send Elder Jensen to ask them to “take a step back”, “meet an undocumented person,” and “come to know their family”? What was it Christ said about the law and weightier matters…