Friday, November 12, 2010

The Utah Compact

Yesterday a distinguished group of Utah political, community and church leaders gathered to sign the Utah Compact.  I'd like to include my support for this important guiding document.  It is simple, clear and makes perfect sense to me.  I include it here:

A declaration of five principles to guide Utah’s immigration discussion
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.  

I wrote some on this subject a week ago in and entry called Pray for Mexico.  While I acknowledge that there are real and serious problems with our nation's current immigration policies, I do not advocate punishing immigrants for our own mismanagement of our borders.  There is a lot of propaganda out there designed to alarm and prejudice the population.  Thankfully, some cooler heads are attempting to quell the storm with some sensible thinking.  The Deseret News did an important piece that is well worth reading.  In the article, Fact or Fiction?  The myths and realities of Illegal Immigration the subject is approached with level headed thinking that we all would do well to consider.

For me, the bottom line is people.  These immigrants, not unlike our own predecessors are real people, with real families bonded together by real love.  Real people, who've made enormous sacrifice to obtain that which we take, so clearly, for granted.  When we reduce them to statistics and demonize them based on the occasional bad apple; we do a disservice not only to them but to ourselves.  We have our own bad apples and apparently in much more common ratios than their detractors would have us believe.

So, I greatly appreciate the sensible, moderate approach of the Utah Pact and lend my full support to its tone and content.

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