It wasn't so long ago that Utah lawmakers created a progressive series of policies designed to accommodate the reality of illegal immigrants in the state. But now legislators are having second thoughts.
This week on Utah NOW we are exploring the latest in the debate of illegal immigration and asking how you balance the rule of law with compassion.
I hear a lot about how we shouldn't reward immigrants who come here illegally by giving them benefits. But as long as we're talking about punishments and rewards, what about rewarding the people who try to become residents and citizens the legal way? As a native English-speaking Canadian married to an American and applying for legal residency after living in the United States for six years, my experience at dealing with government immigration services was absolute misery. I can only imagine how difficult it might be as a Mexican. The process is lengthy, expensive, inconvenient, bureaucratic, and even humiliating. If we're going to deal with this immigration mess effectively, we need to be just as concerned about cleaning up the paperwork as we are about cleaning up the borders, since as many as 45% of illegal immigrants came here legally but overstayed their visas. We need to hire a lot more workers to deal with the huge influx of applications the government predictably received after increasing their fees, or we'll have correspondingly huge delays. We need to make applying for legal residency and citizenship more accessible. Don't we want them to become full citizens? That's what most profess to want our illegal immigrants to do. Then why do we have to make it so hard? We can threaten them with a stick all we want, but I think it would be more effective to dangle a carrot.
Posted by Kaylie Astin, Saturday February 16th, 2008 @ 1:20 pm
After watching Utah Now, it was evident than no one has actually read the Federal Immigration Laws. Keep in mind these laws were written to protect the United States. So basically your guests were saying, "It is more important to help criminals who have entered our country illegally than to insure the saftey of the American Citizens. Bill Allred is out of his mind for saying we are afraid they are taking over. Do none of you understand we are in a war with terrorists? Do you not know that there are records showing people from terrorist nations also coming across our southern border? When, because of people like you, we find out
our enemies are here in vast numbers and demanding amnesty, health care, education,etc. We will have no choice but to give it to them. Your misguided sympathy is noted,as well as your need to purpetrate cheap labor for big business. If your intent is to keep condoning and allowing illegal entry into our
country,breaking federal laws when it suits your needs,and calling anyone showing concern a racist, then you will no doubt get what you desearve. Isn't it amazing how no one on this program said one word about the drugs, crimes, and american deaths brought about by these poor, hardworking, looking for a better life people. Why is it that no one is sympathetic to what is happening to the American Citizens in this state?
You could give them all six months to "Self-Document" themselves, after 6 months, any one not documented will be deported without question. How hard is that? The ones with no criminal records should be agreeable. Document them or Deport them!
Posted by kathy coulam, Sunday February 17th, 2008 @ 1:24 pm
Thanks for airing your show. Of note in all of this is the fact that those directly affected have no voice. There was not a single undocumented immigrant heard on your show. And that’s possibly not because you would not give them voice, but because of their fear to speak out. I would surmise that that is probably true at the legislature too. Think of all tof he injustices the U.S. has perpetrated historically under the so-called rule of law. When the law lacks compassion, we suffer as a society and a nation.
Posted by Walt Eddy, Sunday February 17th, 2008 @ 10:50 pm
I found the Utah Now program on Sunday, Feb 17th to be slanted, even biased, towards illegal immigrants.
There were plenty of religious leaders and Hispanic representatives advocating compassion. But very little discussion of immigration laws.
Do we get to pick and choose which laws we obey? If a law is indeed a bad law, then there are avenues available to us to make changes. But to allow certain groups of people to blatantly break our laws is unacceptable to most people in the US.
The people that are in our country illegally know full well that they are here illegally. And while I admit I don't feel much compassion for illegal immigrants, I do think they should be treated humanely and respectfully as they are being deported.
The US as a country is not responsible for nor can we continue to try to financially support other countries.
Illegal immigrants do not have any benefit rights in this country. To allow them to stay is a slap in the face of every legal immigrant and native born citizen.
Posted by Carol Stillman, Monday February 18th, 2008 @ 9:06 am
Great program Friday night! Sometimes I wonder if I am the only one who really isn't bothered illegal immigration. I am in full support of amnesty, and would prefer these men and women stay in our country and continue to do the jobs they came here for. I also thought Bill Allred's suggestion to make coming into the country EASIER a wonderful idea that actually shows compassion -- something America is truly lacking these days.
Posted by Kate Smith, Monday February 18th, 2008 @ 9:30 am
I would like to hear the issue of the people who employ the immigrants and make money off of them. You never hear about them and the illegal things they do.
Posted by Nancy Bemis, Wednesday February 20th, 2008 @ 2:31 pm
It would have been nice to have the opinion of the workforce. What about the illegals taking our jobs and not following the law. We are urging them to do whatever they want to do. They need to come here legally and follow our laws. The church and the government are aiding them.
Posted by Shaun Garnsley, Wednesday February 20th, 2008 @ 2:32 pm
On immigration, in the last two weeks you have addressed an issue of illegal immigration that is commonly mislabeled as the immigration question. This is a misleading label. There is no public outcry against immigration or immigrants. We are a nation of immigrants and love immigrants, foreigners who came because they believed in the cultural and ideological values that this new democracy represented. The issue with current illegal intrusions into our country is that many illegal immigrants are arriving in our nation who don’t share the values and culture that made the United States what it is and don’t seem to want to become a part of our society and accept the culture and beliefs that the nation is founded on, but now come for purely economic and safety reasons, but whose allegiance is still to la Patria. This conflict has nothing to do with race or immigration it is a question of laws and security and the clash of culture and cultural values. Our tradition is one of a melting pot, cultures integrated into one homogenous whole called America. This tradition is under attack and the citizens of this nation are justifiably worried at the disintegration of our national values and culture into a fractured society.
Posted by Curtis Davis, Saturday February 23rd, 2008 @ 1:03 pm
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