Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: What must Romney do to pull away from the pack?

Published: Sunday, Nov. 6 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

The anti-immigration movement in Utah seems to be losing steam. Even Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, both tea party favorites, are supporting federal laws that make it easier for certain immigrants to get visas for employment or if they buy real estate. Have we turned a corner on the immigration debate in Utah?

Webb: The immigration debate is getting tiresome and most Utahns believe it's time to move on to far more pressing matters. The truth is, immigrants aren't hurting this country, they're helping it. They're not causing major crime. They're not taking jobs. They're bolstering the economy, and their numbers are declining. We need to aggressively go after the criminals and give good people a way to work, be accountable, and come out of the shadows. I'm pleased to see Lee and Chaffetz take pragmatic, sensible positions, along with the business community, the LDS Church and many Republican and Democratic leaders.

Pignanelli: Utahns are a practical and tolerant people, proud of our solution on immigration that was heralded across the nation. The onerous laws passed by less enlightened states resulted in economic damage — including rotting, unpicked crops. There are more important things to worry about in our national and local economy than the decreasing number of undocumented workers from south of the border.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. Email: frankp@xmission.com.

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