Luxury Utah Compact

John Osburn of Salt Lake City protests the introduction of "Arizona-style" legislation by Utah Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (foreground). Photo: Deseret News

The Sunday Dec 5 2010 New York Times editorial page has a glowing review of the so-called “Utah Compact,” an immigration reform proposal put forward by several Utah political, business and religious leaders.

The Compact is in response to the introduction of “Arizona-style” legislation by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom (R-Orem).

I’m sure we’ll be able to discuss the merits of this proposal, reproduced in full here:

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.

Since the name of this shares a word with my home address (I live on “Compact Street”), I thought it would be interesting for non-Utahns to have more context, some local color as it were.

Many non-LDS, non-Utahns know that the Mormon Church (officially, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS; in some contexts, the term “Mormon” is considered offensive) is a dominant political and social force in Utah. One might think that the force of the church would be in inverse proportion to the distance from the LDS Temple and Church Office Building in Temple Square, centrally located in Salt Lake City. In reality, when non-LDS Utahns derisively refer to the “mother ship”, they generally mean the Brigham Young University (BYU) campus in Provo, about 30 miles south of central Salt Lake City.

I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart for BYU. It’s where I received my first kiss, where I saw my first microprocessor chip (1973), and where I learned Fortran, keypunching batch jobs for mainframes, and how to pick up girls using a precursor to IRC Chat. At 15, I found my burgeoning skill in pleading for the hearts and minds of young Catholic girls transferred neatly and with only minor modifications to pleading for the hearts and minds of young LDS girls — and BYU coeds several years older.

Orem, where Rep. Sandstrom is from, has a reputation as being the city that always tries to outdo their next-door-neighbor city Provo. Orem and Provo, the major part of Utah County, tend to vie for who can be the most faithfully LDS, sort of a “¿Quién es más macho?” contest.

So it is quite significant that the text of the Utah Compact is printed in the Deseret News, a church-owned newspaper that once operated more-or-less independently but now is widely regarded as a fancy church newsletter, and that the LDS Church came out not in support of the Utah Compact itself, but rather of its general principles. This is exactly how the church leadership behaves when it wants to support something without causing offense or creating the appearance of engaging in political action.

I would predict that Sandstrom’s bill is dead on arrival. I’d also suggest that if the Obama Administration really wants to paint Sens. Lee and Hatch into a corner on immigration reform, that they adopt this language in enabling legislation.


About Monotreme

Monotreme is an unabashedly liberal dog lover, writer, and former scientist who now teaches at a University in an almost-square state out West somewhere. http://www.logarchism.com | http://www.sevendeadlysynapses.com
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21 Responses to Luxury Utah Compact

  1. Bart DePalma says:

    Very libertarian. I would join in this if they added the following language:

    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. We also recognize that, for immigrants to come to Utah to work and not for government benefits, government services should be reserved for citizens. Utah’s immigration policies must reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state.

    Allowing free immigration and reserving government benefits for citizens is a compromise which would gain supermajority support of the voters.

  2. dcpetterson says:

    I think this is a brilliant resolution. It upholds American values and American history — as contrasted with certain laws passed by a certain other state, which go out of their way to trash not only American values and American history, but also the U.S. Constitution.

    Incidentally, I’ve noted that religions which have suffered from persecution tend to side with people who are being singled out for discrimination. Whatever else one may think of the LDS, I applaud them for their stance here.

  3. Just Sayin' says:

    Republicans being rational, almost makes me cry.

  4. Monotreme says:

    @Just Sayin’:
    They’re not all Republicans. However, a Utah Democrat is not like Democrats elsewhere. Think Rep. Jim Matheson, a typical Blue Dog who survived the 2010 carnage.

  5. Monotreme says:

    The beauty of the Utah Compact is that it doesn’t engage in polemics. Rather than make pointlessly judgmental statements about immigrants stealing benefits or some such, it lays out a rational and reasonable approach.

    Most of all, it calls upon Congress to do what only Congress can do. Only Congress may set limits on immigration, according to the Constitution. That’s not for states to do, and in fact states are specifically prohibited from doing so in Section 10.

  6. shrinkers says:

    @Monotreme

    Rather than make pointlessly judgmental statements about immigrants stealing benefits or some such, it lays out a rational and reasonable approach.

    And one of the many reasons why these statements are “pointlessly judgmental” is that immigrants pay into our benefits system, though the taxes they all pay by virtue of being employed here. Since they pay in, they have every right to draw out as well.

    This argument is made the other way by some on the Right. They’ll complain that they do not intend to take advantage of various possible benefits (social security, medical care, etc.) and, therefore, they shouldn’t be “forced” to pay in. Yet they are happy to force immigrants to pay in, yet will also happily forbid immigrants from drawing out — and, shockingly, will feel justified in doing so.

  7. Monotreme says:

    @shrinkers:

    Exactly. This from the LDS Church’s official statement:

    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.

    So, which part of “love thy neighbor” does the rabidly anti-immigrant Right not understand?

  8. shiloh says:

    Indeed, if one truly believes The Bible teachings/tenets, they would surely be more in tune w/the Democrats ie shared sacrifice, common good, equal opportunity, civil rights, etc.

    The antithesis of the current Rep party …

    >

    Let the Bartle defense er talkin’ points er misinformation re: his beloved Rep party begin. 😉

    Oh I’m sorry, Bart’s a Libertarian on Monday’s, Wednesday’s and Friday’s …

  9. filistro says:

    DC… is that a guillotine?

    LOL.. I love it.

    “When a righteous man waxes righteously indignant, ’tis an awesome thing to behold…”

  10. Bart DePalma says:

    shrinkers says: And one of the many reasons why these statements are “pointlessly judgmental” is that immigrants pay into our benefits system, though the taxes they all pay by virtue of being employed here. Since they pay in, they have every right to draw out as well.

    Low skill illegal immigrants do not begin to pay enough taxes to pay for the services they receive under our welfare state. Indeed, they are due EITC payments under the federal tax code and will receive subsidized Obamacare in 2014 because the legislation does not require HHS to check immigration status.

    When low income immigrants enter a nation with a progressive redistribution scheme, they are the recipients of that redistribution from American taxpayers.

  11. mclever says:

    God is neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Thankfully!

    😉

  12. mclever says:

    Bart,

    Many, many immigrants (due to their undocumented status or prideful tendency to rely on their immigrant community) will never draw any benefits from our government’s social safety net or other programs, despite having FICA and Medicare taxes withheld from every paycheck and despite paying federal and state income taxes potentially for many years.

    So, unless you’ve got solid numbers (which are very hard to get), then whether immigrants pay in more or less in absolute dollars than they take from the system remains an arguable point. Furthermore, as many businesses have noted, the presence of these willing lower-end workers is generally a boon to the economy, which in turn may actually help to lift the economic tides of all Americans thereby actually generating far more in compounded benefit than they could ever withdraw as individuals. (Another admittedly arguable point, but then, most who argue against this point are union-loving Democrats…)

    🙂

  13. Max aka Birdpilot says:

    Bart,

    Prove, with numbers and empirical evidence, not your lying mouthing your statement “Low skill illegal immigrants do not begin to pay enough taxes to pay for the services they receive under our welfare state..

    Otherwise we disregard that statement as worthless and contributing nothing to this discussion.

  14. Bart DePalma says:

    mclever:

    If illegal immigrants do not draw services out of pride, then no one should have a problem denying these non-drawn services from non-citizens.

    The Dems know better and go ballistic when such limits are even discussed. This is why they refused to amend Obamacare to require proof of citizenship.

  15. Monotreme says:

    @mclever,

    Neither is the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  16. filistro says:

    It’s so CUTE when Bart calls the USA a “welfare state.” 🙂

  17. filistro says:

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster is clearly a libertarian.

  18. mclever says:

    No, Bart. I’m sorry. Going from “some illegal immigrants don’t withdraw all of the benefits that they technically could” to “therefore we should deny benefits to all illegal immigrants” does not follow logically. That’s like saying that because some homeowners don’t take advantage of the mortgage interest tax credit, that means we should deny tax benefits to all homeowners. Seriously. You might get away with such arguments in front of a hodgepodge semi-disinterested jury, but here, when it’s in writing, we can all see the glaring fallacy.

    Now, moving past your sideline distraction, my point was that you made a broad, ideological statement assuming how much burden/benefit immigrants our to our tax base and economy. You treat your ideology as fact whenever you don’t have the data.

    Please, if you’re going to say something that’s based on your ideology or opinion, then at least preface it with “I think…” rather than claiming it as fact.

  19. mclever says:

    @ Monotreme

    Or whatever you want to call God, Allah, g-d, Yahweh, Jehovah, Adi Purush, Vishnu, Rama, Tsukihi, Ek Onkar, Satnam, or Eru Ilúvatar.

    🙂

  20. mclever says:

    I should note that I used quotes in my previous post to Bart to demarcate the ideas expressed by him and did not intend to imply a literal quoting of what he said. I was obviously paraphrasing, by combining his ideas with my original phraseology.

    Apologies to Bart if he felt I was “misquoting” him.

  21. Pingback: El Ornitorrinco Políticos, Edición Cinco de Mayo | Logarchism

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