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The winners and the losers

Published: Saturday, June 9 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Silvia Avelar, left, was granted a reprieve from deportation by ICE, along with her sisters.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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Winner: Not only does Congress refuse to do anything about immigration reform, Washington bureaucrats seem intent on making decisions that seem cruel and unreasonable. So it was nice this week to hear that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials decided to grant a one-year reprieve to three Utah sisters whose parents brought them to the United States as children and who now are wives and mothers. ICE had wanted to deport the three to Mexico, a place about which they have few memories. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff sent an email to ICE that might have had some influence. If so, good for him. This case seems tailor made for President Obama's new emphasis on an intelligent, humane approach to deportations.

Loser: The U.S. military has seen many successes in recent years and Americans have many reasons to be thankful. But the military apparently has many internal problems that need to be addressed. Pentagon statistics reported this week show suicides within the service this year have outpaced the number of soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan. In addition, sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other crimes are on the upswing in the military. Some of the problems may be attributable to the length of the conflict in Afghanistan, leading to multiple tours by some soldiers. Whatever the case, however, the all-volunteer military needs to make understanding and solving these problems a priority.

Winner: TRAX was second in the nation in terms of ridership increases during the first quarter of 2012, the Utah Transit Authority reported this week. The American Public Transportation Association said 25 of 27 light-rail systems nationwide showed an increase in ridership. Memphis came in first with a 45.7 percent increase year over year. TRAX was second with a 34.1 percent increase. Add in buses and commuter rail and the figures are still good, if less impressive. UTA's overall jump was 7.5 percent over the previous year. Everyone seems to agree gas prices are motivating this jump, but it doesn't hurt to have two new TRAX lines operating in Salt Lake County, either.

Loser: What's the matter with kids these days? That old refrain comes to mind when the subject turns to texting and driving. We doubt many young drivers have not heard the dire warnings, and yet in a new government survey more than half of high school seniors said they still do it. Laws don't seem to have an impact, neither do lectures. Unfortunately, impact itself is the only thing that has an impact on some drivers whose judgment skills have yet to mature. The good news is the survey found fewer teens driving drunk and more of them buckling their seat belts. Maybe, over time, those lectures really do work after all.

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