Some very good points in this article, for once the DN is allowing a different
veiwpoint other than the standard amnesty nonsense. I do not agree with the
argument that we "can't round them up",, we don't need to. Three
Presidents have ordered illegals out of the country with the threat of severe
consequences, we can do the same. We can also make it so they can't work here
and that will lead many of them to leave on their own. That is what needs to
happen. The process his family went through is a great argument against amnesty
in any form. Rewarding those here illegally with any kind of amnesty is the
wrong message and will only lead to more of the same. Allowing illegals to
obtain citizenship through anything less than going home and coming here the
correct way is an affront to all legal immigrants who did it the right way.
Thanks Vai. Your opinion was well-expressed and the temperament with which you
did so is exactly what our country needs.
Vai,Thank you for your article. It is one of the best I have read.
For this reason I have chosen to comment for the first time. As an immigration
attorney I recognize arguments on both sides. Because I deal with
an immense amount suffering on a daily basis, I also can't help but sympathize
with immigrants-whether it is the immigrant mother who gets snatched for not
having a driver's license and then thrown in jail and deported, leaving her U.S.
citizen children behind without notice, or the high school student who has lived
almost his entire life in the United States, who is then deported and attempts
to return home to his family and his classes. These situations happen every
week. Immigration is not only a legal, economical and international
problem, it's also a human problem, which is why I appreciated your article.
Most of what I read is yelling at immigrants. I appreciate your moderate,
reasoned and compassionate approach. Thank you.
I have relatives that immigrated legally, and neighbors who were brought here
illegally, and returned home at 18 to return legally. I've seen our
system work, and be fair to all nationalities, if people follow the law. I've
also seen it fail when people come here illegally and demand citizenship and our
social services. Amnesty should never be an answer. It has caused
this problem. The 1986 amnesty was a welcome sign at our border. With 20 million
people out of work, and 12-20 million here illegally working at reduced wages,
it's a hot button issue that could get out of hand easily. We must be civil, but
we also must prove that no means no. Any other course of action, just prolongs
the situation, and encourages the next wave.
Perhaps the misunderstood word here is "civility."As long as I
am civil about it, the church cannot be critical about my opinion that we must
not grant amnesty and should deport any who are here illegally.Somehow we
tend to believe that any point-of-view that does not include legalization is not
civil. That is simply not the case.
Vai Sikahema I loved it when you played football for BYU. Go Cougars!!Your writing covered the issue of why it is so hard to deal with. We all like
to think that we are empathetic to others, but if we are not careful we become
enablers. As a teacher I learned that the best way to encourage bad behavior was
to tolerate it. Would Coach Edwards tolerate bad behavior from you on the
football field?Amnesty is not the way to go, because it will only
encourage more illegal immigration. It is also impossible to seal the border,
unless we are willing to place machine guns along it and be willing to use them.
It has taken over 40 years to get into this mess, and it will take a
decade to get out, once we start dealing with it effectively. There
isn't room in the country form 6 billion people that would like to come here.
That is why the legal immigration process is so long and difficult.
Vai is right that we can't just round up 12 million people that are here
illegally and deport them; however, we can remove all the incentives that bring
them here, and they will self-deport themselves back home, on their own.We saw proof that this worked when Gov. Brewer signed SB 1070 into law
last April. What happened? There was a MASS exodus of illegals that either went
back to their home countries, or fled to surrounding states that were more
lenient on illegal immigration.Just because we can't deport them
doesn't mean we should slam the door, saying "Oh well, I guess we'll have
to let them stay". Let's not throw the baby out with the bath water!
I can see both sides for the illegals and my "letter of the law" says,
send them back, but my "spirit of the law" says, figure something out.
In reading the replies I started to think about universities and how they are
"weighted". So if you get a degree from Harvard, it is going to be
more respected then a place like Dixie college. I think Dixie is a great
school, but this is reality. Why not have a "weight" system for
illegals and look at the give and take. Measure what they put in or what they
take out of the system. Look at how their children have done in school. Look
how they have contributed in their churches and community, and of course look at
crime records. Have crimes weighted also, murder, rape and felonies. Those are
big negatives, but a speeding ticket, that would be a minor negative. So then say 75 points and above, are here in the USA on a probation for five
years. 50-75 probation for ten years and get their weighted numbers up. Under
50, return back to their countries. Those who stay would work with a
Vai, We won't have to deport them once their children are denied citizenship and
benefits. Along with workplace enforcement they will be running home. I am also a first generation American the legal way and we have a similar
story of work and waiting. My family waited in line.tann0475 the
family drama you mention is a moot point-they shouldn't be here to begin with
and they have caused all their own circumstances. Sort of like any other
criminal caught in the act. It is a universal truth that children are blessed
and cursed by the the acts of their parents.It should be easy for a
non citizen birth certificates. You either have a copy of your birth certificate
or other documents or bring them back within a certain amount of time or you do
not receive a citizen birth certificate.
A relative by marriage went from Canada to the US with his wife and children.
He went to work and stayed but applied using a Canadian address, after a couple
of years or so they went a US consulate in Canada for and interview (they
traveled from the US for it)They arrived in a waiting room, and were
called first of about 250 people, for an interview. Six blue eyed blonds, the
adults of which, as a test of English were asked to spell their names. The
green (pink) cards were prepared and they went on their way. The interviewer
mentioned the name of the California town where he was living.There
were a lot of Hispanics and Asians who were turned away that day.
tann0475, they do not deport right after catching someone, even if they have
previous deportation notices. There are hearings, appeals etc. then the
deportation order. The birthright children, if adults are not
notified, it's her responsibility to do that while awaiting her hearing. If they
are minor children, she has the right to arrange for them to stay with relatives
who are citizens, or take them home with her. They can return at 18 years of
age. Illegal immigrants know what they are doing to themselves and
their families when they come here illegally. They know they can be caught and
deported. It's their decision to possibly divide or disrupt their families
through their actions. Society cannot be responsible for their bad choices,
otherwise they will take advantage of our compassion and recklessly endanger
their family unit, expecting us to fix their lives for them. Compassion is one thing, setting us up to be duped is another.
Hanging in our living room is the flag my wife received when she got her
citizenship in the U.S. about 3 years ago. We are both college educated. Good jobs. The process was very difficult. And it was very expensive. I spent many hours talking to INS customer service people. Usually have to
call back 2 or 3 times to see what answer is the most consistent. When you talk
to 2 INS people, you usually get 2 different answers. I had to wait 9
months for a visa that allowed my wife to enter the U.S. legally.The
immigration process is too expensive. It is too complicated. It is too
difficult. Especially for non-native speakers. And it is not going to get
"easier" any time soon. The best option is to enter the country
illegally. Don't worry about all the paper work and fees. As long as the
immigration process stays this difficult and expensive...we will always have
thousands of people entering illegally. I'm a black and white person but on
this I have to side with the illegals....
If my kids were going to bed hungry every night, my parents are old and only
have that old fashoned retirement of thier kids helping them out - the coice
would be easy to take an under the table job offered to me. There are higher
laws to be considered.So when I here people talking about following
the law I just wonder which set of laws they value more?
Thanks Val for you well written article. Those who have similar sympathies don't
forget to read and sign the Utah Compact. Thanks.
The effective way to be both fair,just, and affordable is to simply remove the
incentive for the illegals to be here. How will we do that? It's
quite simple. Require every single business to reverify the legal status of all
their employees. Make it prison time for anyone who knowingly employs illegals.
Increase the fines to crippling levels. If you employ illegals you are only an
American citizen in name- you are certainly not a true citizen of this country.
Where does your true allegiance rest? If we make it very difficult
for the businesses to keep illegals then guess what will happen....The illegals
are let go and most of them go back to their country of origin.
mountain man, the US has let in more people than the rest of the world combined
since 2006 (legally). Most of the people I know who chose to come here legally,
feel being an American is worth the effort. Screwdriver, it's a good
thing the billions of starving people in the world don't feel the same way. It
is a question of honesty, not necessarily poverty.
It was Harold B lee who coined the phrase No other success can compensate for
failure in the home....and how can you follow the cousel of the GA's when even
they are split on the issue.....this is not a matter for us to be looking for
the Prophet for guidance....its a matter that we as a free society have to make
to keep our nation FREE!
Stop and think. Does it make any sense at all for one branch of the government
to spend millions, if not billions, on border security to keep illegal
immigrants out while other branches of the government spend billions to provide
illegals with welfare, food stamps and education for their children?
Patrick Henry @ 8:37Do you really think it makes sense for one
branch of the government to go after the people who hire illegals while other
branches of the government provide illegals with welfare, food stamps and
education for their children? People could not hire illegals if they weren't
here in the first place.
Mountain Man,INS has not been "INS" in many years ( I think 8
years). It is USCIS and BCIS before that. Anyway, I also went through the
process. Yes, it was painful, expensive and needs to be reformed. However, we
did it, you did it, and thousands more do it every year. It is still functional
(although it does need to be streamlined significantly). What gives others the
right to skip the step those of us responsible people did? I wanted things to be
done the right way and applaud others who have navigated the legal immigration
mess we have now.
JBrady, You are not being duped for showing compassion. We have been admonished
by higher authorities to be magnanimous in this debate, taking into account that
we are dealing with human beings, but there are so many hypocrits who just want
the undocumented to go away. We cannot expel millions of people, that is
absurd. Many have found a way of life to provide for their children.Like
Vai says, the visa process, as it stands now, is impossible to get one, whether
you are applying here or abroad. What we need to do is ask our reps to find a
way for these people to normalize their status. Make the undocumented pay fines,
backtaxes, have a sponsor, show language proficiency and show good citizenship
behavior for them to earn a visa. This is asking more than a person who is
applying at an embassy. The police report comes from here, and they will pay
fines and fees, so this is not free.
I grew up in Harlingen, a city in south Texas 20 miles from the Mexican border.
Illegal aliens aren't coming to the US for jobs but are fleeing a country that
is corruption is rampant and their government hampers economic development. Ask yourselves why economic opportunities exist in American and not
south of the border? They have the labor force! They have the resources. Pure
and simple it has been those countries governments that the people have been
fleeing.Many of the illegal immigrants still consider Mexico their
home and would leave if the job opportunities in Mexico existed. Ask yourself
with all the businesses that located south of the border why are people still
coming to the US? Think people! It has never been about jobs it's
Brer Rabbit, if six billion people wanted to be US citizens, we could easily
make room. We'd just annex the rest of the world's dry land.
1. The US Government is 100% responsible for the current state of illegal
immigration.Why? They say no illegal immigration, yet handed out
ITIN numbers to collect taxes from illegals who were not supposed to work, but
with a wink, they allowed them to work for many years.The US Federal
Government knows, as most citizens wish to ignore, that immigrants (legal and
illegal) are a boon to our economy. MANY pay taxes. They pay taxes when they
work, buy food, buy cars, buy clothing, start businesses, on and on. Bot Texas and Arizona did extensive studies that show both states come out in
the black, not the red when considering ALL aspects of illegal immigration.2. US Federal Government has created the corruption of most of the
Governments of Mexico and Central and South America through its support of
dictators, and corruption...US Foreign policy has contributed greatly to their
unrest--thus people fleeing for their lives.Blame ourselves for the
current situation. Don't take it out on US business owners who follow the lead
of our government, nor on the people who are trying to survive. You already
HAVE more than THEY will ever dream of!
Good article Vai. I think you make some good points, but all of my LDS friends
believe that the General Authorities are wrong on the Utah Compact. Yes, we
should show compassion, but to give the illegals amnesty is rewarding illegal
behavior. We need to repeal the birthright citizenship loophole that brings so
many illegals here to soak our tax dollars for freebies, crack down on crooked
employers who hire illegals, and end all entitlements to illegals, and most of
them will go home.We simply cannot afford to make Utah a sanctuary
state like California, because California has completely tanked under the burden
of what the illegal leechers have done to that state. I know, I used to live
The problem with open amnesty for those already here is that other's will follow
in years to come based on hope of a future amesty program, as it the case right
now. Most who are here illegally now, believed when they left their country
that one day there would be amnesty so it would be worth it to get here and
wait. If we repeat the past, the future will have the same problem. That does
not make one racists, angry or bigioted, in makes one logical.
A few on here seem to get it. Imigration is an economic not a law enforecement
problem. Vai never once mentioned the conditions in Mexico, poverty, drug wars,
violence, gov't corruption. Illegal immigrants feel hopeless, that is why most
come here. It is easy to sit back and enjoy the affluence America offers and
turn our back on the rest of the world. After all why should they be our
problem? Most hard liners want them to go away because they are a stark
reminder that we have the highest standard of living in the world and most of
them have nothing. I observe many Hispanic people in my employment. The
majority come across as humble, teachable, family oriented, good parents and a
strong work ethic. The hard liners view them all as criminals, lazy,
freeloaders, and just here to take advantage of our generosity. Some may fit
that description, however many do not. The hard line approach ignores reality.
Many may want the problem to go away, unfortunately it won't. Their are two
solutions, economic growth in Mexico and immigration reform in the United
Justice and mercy have their demands. If you had your social
security number stolen and your identity trashed, I think I know who the justice
and mercy belongs to and it is not the thief.California, Arizona and
other states are drowning in the situation created by all the mercy demanding
illegals. If they were obeying the laws then all immigration
procedures could be done in an orderly fashion. Plenty of notice for family
matters to be taken care of. But they have already shown their contempt for all
things legal and have left us without options. Kind of like all other
criminals.I am a first generation American. I hope a solution can be
found. For me no amnesty should ever be considered.Amnesty rewards
criminal activity, kind of like telling the income tax evaders---oh never
mind--how much tax do you think they would collect in the future?Don't reward illegals children with citizenship.
I recently had couple from my ward return from a trip to Mexico. They loved it!
had no problems. I remember a few years back I went to a border town on the
Mexican side and I was shell shocked by the poverty and filth that I saw there.
I know that time are hard in Mexico, but I think that mostly deals with the
border towns and not all of Mexico. I know I get REALLY frustrated when I read
about illeagals here getting upset over kids wearing shirts with American flags
on it or having a flag on their bike. I get frustrated with those who are
determined to remain "Mexican" in culture, language, etc and dispise
anything American. I don't understand if they love their country so much as to
try to make over America to their liking then why not stay there and immagrate
future into the country of Mexico where things are not so bad?
CWEB @ 11:27 - Illegal immigration is a complete and total economic, social and
cultural disaster. Most rational people would conclude that is the reason no
other country on earth allows it.
NeilT,"Imigration is an economic not a law enforecement
problem. ...poverty, drug wars, violence, gov't corruption. Illegal immigrants
feel hopeless, that is why most come here."Well, you are half
right.Many illegals come here because Americans have the money to
spend on illegal drugs. They can't sell the smack on the streets of Mexico for
even a fraction of what they can get on the streets of Salt Lake City.The corruption in Mexico was created in large part by the drug cartels buying
off politicians, military leaders, and businessmen.But it does not
good to make lots of drugs cheaply unless you can get those drugs to a lucrative
market: the affluent teenagers in America!And then there are a
handful of illegals who are coming to pick lettuce -- the real kind.
Kathy. | 9:47 p.m. Jan. 31, 2011How is attacking their children
civil? Punishments for the parents? Sure. Punishments for US born children?
Absolutely not. The constitution says they are citizens (this interpretation
has been supported by the courts). If we're really concerned about the rule of
law, we can't justify stripping their children of rights that they are legally
I M LDS 2 | 3:01 p.m. Feb. 1, 2011"Many illegals come here because
Americans have the money to spend on illegal drugs...And then there are a
handful of illegals who are coming to pick lettuce -- the real kind."Actually, all of the research I've read indicates that a vast majority
of illegal immigrants come here for work, and only a handful come to sell drugs
or commit other crimes.In fact, crime rates for first-generation
immigrants are statistically significantly lower than crime rates for the
second-generation (children of immigrants). Second-generation immigrants are
similarly less likely to commit crimes than the third-generation, and only in
the third generation do crime rates reach 4th or greater native-born crime
levels - statistically equivalent to the US average.These people are
doing a much better job of obeying the law than we are, statistically, other
than their illegal status.
Brian HWe have had a defacto rewarding of illegal immigration with
citizenship of their children. That is about to be challenged in the courts. No
one is separating them from their children. The children are free to go with
their parents and in this current defacto application of citizenship they are
free to return. They are not punished at all. Unless of course their parents
have committed crimes-just imagine that! income tax evasion, identity theft,
falsifying federal documents, you get the drift. I might add it seems like
that is one of the first things female illegals do is have a child to anchor her
Brian HWho is attacking their children? Challenging the
defacto history of awarding citizenship or commonly called birthright
citizenship.Closing the loophole of workplace enforcement.And denial of all benefits except life saving medical treatment is taking our
country back from the law breakers.By the way welcome mat is out for
all those that follow the laws.
As a child of immigrants and having family that came here from Mexico, I don't
think you can't reward illegal behavior, and expect it to solve the problem.
It's sweeping the problem under the rug, until someone discovers it again. Being civil doesn't mean we can't enforce our laws, just the opposite.
Allowing the mess we have now hurts everyone, it much more responsible to all
concerned to enforce laws equally. The Utah compact is nothing more
that a political ploy to confuse people by mixing legal and illegal immigrants
into the same group, and opening the border for further violations of our laws.
My legal family members from Mexico have to compete with those here
illegally. It's not fair, and it's high time someone spoke for them and
protected their rights.
Thanks Vai, for your personal experiences on this issue, and your thoughtful
analysis. Immigration, both legal and illegal is a very complicated issue, and
there is no silver bullet. Your well reasoned approach leaves the door open for
constructive problem solving. On the other hand, the knee jerk
100,000 foot level generalizations and grandiose statements of so many in this
debate won't solve the problems that face us.
It's almost worse for me to hear a "legal" immigrant talk about having
done things right and legal to be here and all those illegals are making them
look bad. Your family was blessed, that's great. You had connections and money
to move to another country and time to wait out the process. If my
kids were hungry and I could make 10 times as much in Canada washing dishes I
would jump the border too and so would most of you. Have you even seen your kid
hungry and not had any food to give them? Me neither but at least I can see that
the border and the current situation is against natural and God's laws. Change the man made laws and stop wringing your fists about people comming
here to clean and cook for you.
@ ScrewdriverYour point is well taken. That's why effective policies
need to consider the human element. George Washington was successful in winning
the revolutionary war despite a vastly out manned and out gunned Continental
Army in part because he did not pillage supplies from patriots or loyalists as
did the British army. He understood that in the long run fair treatment would do
as much to win the war as bullets ever could.It's important that we
focus on the biggest drivers of illegal immigration first, and quit the talk of
amending the Constitution when much more effective policies are available.
Having a baby in the U.S. is not the primary driver of illegal immigration.
Remove that path to citizenship for parents and it becomes a very minor driver
at worst.We can have reasonable policies that identify and have no
mercy for violent criminals, that allow guest workers who do not displace U.S.
citizen jobs, that make it easier and faster for legal residents to gain
citizenship. We can better defend the border.In short we can
understand the immigrant history of this country, and learn from it. There are
reasonable and effective solutions.
I think the solution lies in overhauling immigration laws and making it feasible
for an individual to become a citizen. As long as this country is a land of
dreams, where individuals can better themselves, feed their families, get an
education, and create a safe environment for their loved ones, individuals are
going to immigrate, whether legally or illegally. The answer is making the path
of legal immigration a much more desirable option than an illegal option. If it
is much easier to immigrate legally, with reasonable wait time and fees and full
rights and privileges (and responsibilities), they will choose that avenue, thus
solving the problem. In addition, if they also realize that the penalties for
being here illegally are so not worth the risk, meaning that they have to be
pretty harsh once immigration laws are overhauled, making becoming a citizen
legally doable, then that path will become virtually extinct.
While I appreciate the article and the thoughtful commentary, I was sort of left
feeling that Vai is trying to straddle both sides of the fence on this one.For what it's worth, here are my thoughts. Close the borders, enforce
the law, and make adjustments going forward to address the needs of employers
and temporary workers. BUT rounding up 11 million illegal immigrants and
sending them to Mexico would be as bad an approach as pulling over every woman
in labor on her way to the hospital who is exceeding the speed limit. Are they
committing a crime? Yes. Are they trying to hurt anybody? No. They are only
trying to put food on their tables through an honest day's work. Since the
country turned a blind eye to this for so long, it's not only inhumane but wrong
to one day decide to enforce the law retroactively. Sure, send those back who
commit have committed a crime, but make the rest pay a fine, pay taxes, learn
the pledge of allegiance, etc. and then move forward. Very simple and fair
I suppose I put the cart before the horse. There is no way for an illegal
Mexican toFile the forms and pay the fees to become a citizen. It is
not allowed. Even if they had great English and thousands of dollars in the
bank-- we will not allow them to submit anything to uscis. This is a very
difficult problem. Especially when you consider that most of their children are
probably us citizens. How do you stop the future flow of illegal immigrants. What do you do with the millions here who can't legally pay taxes. I
hope our leaders can draft some legislation that will be fair and allow those
who could stay-- a chance for a life here.
mountain man, if they are not here illegally they can apply. Screwdriver, your point that some will break the law is understood. That's why
we need enforcement. However the majority of the people will follow the law. In that same thought, how should an American react when his kids are
hungry, and his illegal neighbor is working? Does he have the same right to
break whatever law he deems necessary?
We have been told by most faiths including the LDS and Catholic, to follow the
law, and let government enforce it's laws. Mexico has the 12th best
economy in the world. There are opportunities there. Many US companies are still
moving some of their operations there. ITIN numbers are for non
citizens (businessmen and property owners etc) to pay taxes. They do not give
legal permission to be here. Some use them as a backdoor, like Senator Brambles
drivers privilege cards. Mexico and Central America's problem lies
in the fact that they can be irresponsible and blame it on the US. Then ask for
Foreign aid after making us feel guilty.
I am 5th generation American. My family came from Europe. They came here
because there was absolutely no hope or opportunity in Europe. That is what our
America is all about. I don't care about legal or illegal. I care about moral.
What is the right thing to do ? I don't know? I know too many good Mexican
nationals not to say they will make great Americans.
@CWEB Feb 1 2011, 11:27 AM.I agree with your assessment of the
illegal immigration situation. The USA and Mexican Governments both
contributed greatly to the environment that encouraged illegal entry into the
United States across the southern boarders.When we consider the
political and socio-economic push and pull factors on either side of the
southern boarders, Mexican nationals are pushed out of their miserable living
conditions in Mexico and pulled into the US in hope of finding a better life for
their families. Crossing the boarder into the US is the only choice left.
Something a normal person would do for his loved ones under such political or
economic oppressions.To stop the illegal crossing and exploitation
of the Mexican people and US citizens, we must identify the root causes of
these problems.The unresponsive Governments of Mexico and the US
Congress are the main causes. Don't blame anyone else, for your reckless
disregard of human lives.