This past week, the Deseret Morning News has been running an exhaustive series of articles on America's immigration problems. Each story chipped away at a concern: employment, justice, survival. And all the sculpting has revealed a central truth: the issue is monumental. Going back to the way things were "before" would be akin to reclaiming the California oceanfront property washed away by the tides. The key is to be forward looking, to see the situation clearly, steer through it, and emerge at the end of the day with a workable solution.
It strikes us as odd that many people can see that such is the case in Iraq. America can't un-ring that bell. The situation requires resolve and vision, not fanciful notions and nostalgia for the days of yore. Yet many who feel that way about Iraq have yet to glimpse the fact that immigration fits the same thinking.
The key will be to take deliberate action. And that has yet to happen. The Spanish word "abulia" means a lazy lack of will. English speakers may wish to adopt the word, though some people claim they are trying to help.
In an interview with the Deseret Morning News last week, Sen. Bob Bennett said that immigration reform was high on the post-August calendar in the Senate, until "it was overwhelmed by other pressures. Katrina blew all circuits." The senator says the issue is back on the calendar, but plans for a Thanksgiving recess now may push immigration deliberations into 2006.
So it has gone for a decade. So it goes today. Much more heat than light has been spent on the problem. Much more money has been spent on bandages than on surgery.
In the past, the Deseret Morning News has historically come out in favor of a guest worker program, much like the plan proposed by Rep. Chris Cannon. After putting together a definitive series of stories on the issue, we still feel the same. We continue to view the immigration situation as an opportunity, not an albatross. As a young undocumented dairy worker in Box Elder County put it, "We are no different than other people. We have lawbreakers and law-keepers. But we also have a great many strong families. We feel we can help this country. Living here has been our dream. And if the country will help us, we can help the country all the more."
The time for angry invective has now passed.
The time for pressing to send all illegal aliens back home has passed.
The time for pointing fingers, shaking heads and stomping feet has passed.
It is time for America and Utah to adjust to a new reality. The Hispanic immigrant legal and illegal has become as much a part of society here as carrots in a stew. How we got into this predicament is a question for historians to ponder.
The question for caring, concerned Utahns should be that monolithic query revealed by our series of stories: What needs to be done to help us wring prosperity and personal fulfillment from a difficult situation?