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.
- Utah proposal would allow illegal immigrants to work ()
- Editorial: The Utah Compact (nytimes.com)
- What do Utahns think about Utah Immigration Compact? ()
- Utah Conservatives Make Compact Against Arizona-Style Law (immigration.change.org)
- Mormon Church Joins Supporters for Progressive Immigration Reform, Helping Sink Arizona-Like Bill (alternet.org)
- Immigration ‘compact’ offered in Utah (politico.com)