One need not advocate amnesty to see that we need a way to bring those undocumented families of good will among us out of the shadows. One need not abandon the principle of accountability to provide a mechanism for people to work in and contribute to our society.
We urge our lawmakers today to deliberate about how they might fashion clear and enforceable immigration rules that recognize, welcome and accommodate families motivated by that pioneering spirit of opportunity. They should honor the fact that the overwhelming majority of Utah's residents trace their heritage to immigrants who came here because of freedom and opportunity. Often cast off from their native lands as social, economic, or religious misfits, our ancestors found in these valleys refuge and opportunity. They also found a responsive system of law that accommodated rather than rejected them. The heritage of opportunity, tolerance, and adaptation that guided us in the 19th and 20th centuries should continue to guide us today.
Disregard of current entry requirements harms respect for law. Abuse of those requirements for blatantly criminal ends is unacceptable. But the rule of law is equally harmed through stubborn, costly and capricious enforcement of unwise rules. Respect for law will increase when our immigration policies respond to and adapt to that universal human impulse to seek opportunity and freedom. And if history is our guide, such adaptation will enhance our culture and expand economic innovation and growth.
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