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Editorial: A model for the nation

Published: Sunday, Feb. 27 2011 6:50 p.m. MST

Senate President Michael Waddoups

Brian Nicholson, El Observador de Utah

We wish to acknowledge the thoughtful, statesmanlike and deliberate discussions under way in the Utah Legislature to address the complex and challenging issues of illegal immigration. Hard work and deliberation appear to be moving Utah toward a unique solution on immigration that, done well, could become a model for the nation.

The public debate on the issues has been long and at times rancorous. It has, nonetheless, helped to clarify fundamental issues for citizens and their representatives alike.

As that vigorous public debate has moved into the deliberative halls of our Legislature the tone has become appropriately reflective and respectful.

We acknowledge specifically the efforts of Sens. Curt Bramble, Luz Robles and Howard Stephenson along with Reps. Stephen Sandstrom, Bill Wright, Chris Herrod and Carl Wimmer. They have shouldered the hard work of putting ideas into specific legislation for the consideration of their colleagues.

As legislation now makes its way through the two chambers of our Legislature, we are grateful for the strong and considerate leadership of Senate President Michael Waddoups and House Speaker Becky Lockhart.

Drawing from the best of the many ideas that have been offered, Utah stands on the verge of forging a comprehensive solution that has eluded Congress and other legislatures. This promising solution will require statesmanship that navigates the many crosscurrents that might exist both within and between the House and the Senate.

The Utah solution that is emerging would weed out dangerous criminals without overburdening local law enforcement. It would hold employers and employees to account for compliance with the laws. But it would also provide a pragmatic way for hardworking but undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and contribute productively without creating a path to citizenship.

By being the first state-based initiative to forge a comprehensive solution to the problems associated with illegal immigration, Utah's solution would raise as many important questions as it might answer. And undoubtedly, if implemented, Utah would discover the need to refine and adjust elements of the legislation.

But these uncertainties that come with any innovation are not reason enough to stall. Utah's pioneering heritage has taught us that there are great rewards to being on the frontier and, that working together, our community can address the most challenging issues with tough, pragmatic and economically prudent solutions.

Early in Utah's current discussion of immigration policy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the owner of the Deseret News, issued the following statement:

"Finding a successful resolution will require the best thinking and goodwill of all across the political spectrum, the highest levels of statesmanship, and the strongest desire to do what is best for all of God's children."

As our legislators conclude their challenging deliberations on how to forge a genuinely Utah solution from the many excellent ideas that have been considered, we commend them for their thoughtfulness, their statesmanship and their ongoing desire to do what is best for all of God's children.

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