Text of debate between Sen. Orrin Hatch, Dan Liljenquist on KSL's Doug Wright Show
Doug Wright: Let's go to another topic on this one. ... I think of all the topics, this took the most distillation, and also the censoring of words, I might mention. The countless missed opportunities by the federal government to do its duty, to fix the immigration debacle in our country. Everything from, more recently, McCain-Kennedy building on what President Bush wanted, the comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, to the Dream Act with its genesis way back in 2001, if I have my date correct, Senator? Leaving states in the lurch. Because there has been no action — meaningful action, other than enforcement-type action, from the federal government. What will you do to get the federal government, basically, to do its duty? And let's start with you, Senator Hatch.
Orrin Hatch: Well, I get a lot of questions from the Dream Act but what we were trying to do was follow the Utah state legislature, which basically allowed in-state tuition for children of undocumented workers, or undocumented people. And I'm not gonna back off from the Dream Act that I originally founded. It's been totally distorted since, but nevertheless, anybody who wants to criticize me on immigration has to understand that I've done more on immigration for Utah than any other senator — than any other person in Utah. For instance, I brought the Secure Communities program to Utah. That's to 17 — no, 14 counties, so that they can check on the database of the crimes, so that they can follow up on these people. I got the ICE to put a field office in Utah so they don't have to go out-of-state to deal with some of these problems. I brought the 287G program to Weber State and Washington counties, and also that program basically allows local law enforcement to participate in immigration matters. And last but not least, I've brought the immigration court to Utah, with two immigration judges. Nobody can say they've done any more than I have, or even as much, or anywhere near as much as I have for Utah. On the other hand, I have a lot of belief that we have to get together and solve these problems, and it's gonna take people like me, who can get along with both sides, to be able to solve this problem in the end, and I intend to do it.
Doug Wright: Dan Liljenquist, let's go to you next.
Dan Liljenquist: You know, Doug, I've been all over the state, we've done 262 public events, and every time this issue comes up and there are 3 things that I think we can all agree on, and I think we need to focus there. You see, immigration is like having a patient bleeding out in the emergency room and we stand around and discuss about how to clean up the blood. There are three things that we have to do to solve it and then we can work through the trickier issues. One: we've got to secure the border. It is a national security issue. There have been 48,000 murders in northern Mexico in the last four years. That's bleeding across the border. That is a military issue in my mind. But second, we have got to open up legal immigration. After 9/11, we shut down that process, made it more difficult to get through. I just want legal immigration. I just want people coming through the front door with their sleeves rolled up. We need labor, we need people who want to participate in the American Dream and do so openly and honestly. And the third thing, Doug, that I'm in favor of is I don't think it's too much to ask, when somebody shows up to apply for a new job, to check that the name on that Social Security card matches the number. I'm in favor of e-verification, I think that's a reasonable step to protect identities. With those things in place: a secure border, legal immigration that's functioning, which Congress has been abysmal on, and then third, an electronic verification, I think we could start to clean up a lot of these issues and find ways forward.
Doug Wright: And your 30-second rebuttal?
Orrin Hatch: Well, I don't disagree with some of the things that Dan's saying here. There's no use kidding, we're an nation of immigrants, but immigrants who follow the law. He's right, we won't be able to solve these problems until we secure the borders, and we have to do that. Every other large nation in the world knows how to secure their borders, why can't we secure ours? And second, we can no longer grant amnesty. I fought against the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli bill because they granted amnesty to 3 million people. They should have to get in line like anybody else if they want to come into this country and do it legally.
Doug Wright: I think if there's one phrase that Utahns have heard more than any other in this campaign so far, it has been well, maybe more of a title than a phrase — Hill Air Force Base. And I'd like to talk about that. We have had a lot of comments about it. I even had the opportunity of hosting the Democratic debate, at Juan Diego Catholic High School, between Scott Howell and Pete Ashdown. It came up there as well. This time we start with Dan Liljenquist, and your thought on Hill Air Force Base and how you would secure the base for Utah.
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