Yes, a service day is a fine idea all citizens should (and do) participate in service. Yes, good will is always a good option. As far as your reference to "the negative buzz of anti-immigration groups," we can only assume that the Deseret Morning News includes Utahns for Immigration Reform and Enforcement (UFIRE) in this category. We have seen little "negative publicity swirling about immigrants"; in fact, we have seen a great deal of positive publicity emanating from the presses of the Deseret Morning News about immigrants. There is little controversy, within the state of Utah, over immigrants. But there is a large controversy over ILLEGAL immigrants. The majority of Utahns (according to the Morning News polling, along with our own) favor the rule of law; they welcome incoming immigrants entering our country using the proper legal avenues available.
The United States currently allows about a million people a year to take up legal residence in this country. This number is now becoming overshadowed by the massive influx of those who sneak across nearby borders, urged on by the promise of better jobs, government benefits, free education for their children, health care and a better life. By entering illegally, they are basically supplanting many who have waited years to enter this country, including many relatives and friends of U.S. citizens.
Apparently, the Deseret Morning News has adopted Chris Cannon's declaration in 2002, when receiving the "Excellence in Leadership" from the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), "We love immigrants in Utah. . . . And we don't oftentimes make the distinction between legal and illegal."
Most Utahns cherish our immigrant heritage and welcome new people, but we do demand that people obey immigration laws. Continually adding enticements and benefits to illegal entrants will do nothing to stem the ever-increasing tide. The past and proposed amnesties have done, and will do, nothing to solve the problem. Employers evading employment laws and hiring illegal aliens are as guilty as those breaking the entry laws.
UFIRE calls on the state of Utah to continue forward with repealing in-state tuition for illegal aliens and to look for ways to decrease, rather than increase, taxpayer-provided benefits that further attract more illegal immigrants to our state. We also encourage the Legislature to conduct an audit of the true cost of illegal aliens to the taxpayers of Utah to refute the erroneous platitude that "cheap labor" benefits us all. Cheap labor may benefit some employers, but unwarranted benefits parlay the hidden costs to all taxpayers. The United States, and in particular, the state of Utah cannot continue to fund the benefits not provided by employers.Yes, let us all continue in service to our fellow man but continue to recognize that service needs to come from individual effort, not government handouts. We are all aware that Hispanics are generally industrious people, but perhaps service projects should not be used to enhance a political objective.
Mike Sizer is chairman of Utahns for Immigration Reform and Enforcement.