John Florez: Show leadership on immigration

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  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    June 18, 2013 7:03 p.m.

    Again John lumps illegal immigration and LEGAL immigration into the word immigration (i.e., immigration is what made this country} Until he differentiats the two meanings, his columns make no sense. Viva LEGAL immigration.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2013 7:29 a.m.

    Immigration "reform". One big fight over a bill no one likes. Lets pick up the low hanging fruit.

    The visa bill that Sen. Lee had and Sen. Hatch put in the the larger immigration bill. The I-Squared Act. Lets pull it back out and pass it separately.

    We need to fix legal immigration. The best plan I have seen is to have a decent no quota but sponsored system of immigration with the ability later to become a citizen, Rep. Dougall's bill 2011 HB 469 in 2011 has the first part of that.

    We need a simple E-Verify law for companies 15 or larger to protect against ID theft.

    If the "big" US immigration bill passes it will just further divide us, just like the attempt to combine immigration bills in to one bill, 2011 HB 116 did. You get a bill that no one really likes. We need more consensus building and less compromise. If we focus on what we agree on, we can accomplish the most good.

    Congress should run a bunch of small simple bills. Then we actually may get something that will help business, families, and our nation.

  • Utah_1 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2013 7:29 a.m.

    If we are going to have a line for people to come to this country, you can't reward those that bypass the line. They need to be sent to the back of the line. That doesn't mean you should stop treating them like people. I am in favor of simplifying and fixing legal immigration.

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    June 16, 2013 8:11 p.m.

    "You want to drop all charges on Americans who commit id theft (felony), social security fraud(felony), and i-9 fraud (perjury-felony) plus all misdemeanors? Or just drop charges on those here illegally?"

    You make an interesting point, Lars. If those who committed felonies must pay to the full extent of the law before they can get green cards, most will end up in jail with heavy fines because they have committed crimes such as you list. I can see forgiving illegals the crime of illegally crossing out borders. But most, I would think, have committed other, more serious felonious crimes.

    It has been said that rounding up illegals and shipping them home would be too costly. How about the cost to keep the 11 million in jail for say, ten years for their crimes. That would cost way more than rounding them up.

  • Neanderthal Pheonix, AZ
    June 16, 2013 7:58 p.m.

    Florez is making some fairly good points. But it is crucial that the borders are tightly secured else we will have a repeat of 1986 which we don't want or need. And we need to do something about the visa overstays to effectively solve the illegal immigration problem. At least, that's my view of the situation.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    June 16, 2013 2:47 p.m.

    Pops, the laws are still there, and it's a small group of open border people in high positions that are turning their heads.

    It's a far cry from stealing bread. Do you want them excused from multiple felonies, while the country still prosecutes Americans?

    Stealing identities has the same punishment as social security fraud, they go hand in hand. And in i-9 perjury A i-9 form must be signed before working. Our laws don't permit felons to be citizens. And if you look past these crimes, but still want Americans tried, your looking the other way.

    Mexico, the country that contributes the most, has the 13th best economy in the world. There are billions of people in this world more desperate.

    4% of those illegally work in Agriculture, who has unlimited visas. Your ignoring the majority.

    Temp jobs end, and then it's time to move on. Amnesty begats amnesty. Your way of thinking gives amnesty also to many employers who commit felonies hiring people here illegally.

    June 16, 2013 12:52 p.m.


    It's a moral dilemma because we allowed them in and we allowed them to stay, and now all of a sudden we're talking about uprooting them and sending them back to the conditions they escaped, someplace some of them have never lived. It's a moral dilemma because it places us in the position of having to judge the likes of Jean Val Jean.

    I don't want to drop charges on anyone. I think justice requires that the punishment fit the crime. Those who steal identities with the intent to harm deserve a stiffer punishment than those who fabricate a Social Security number because we require it of them before we allow them to harvest produce in our fields.

    Yes, they broke the law, but let the punishment fit the crime. To those living in desperate conditions, desperate measures are understandable.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    June 16, 2013 10:56 a.m.

    You want to drop all charges on Americans who commit id theft (felony), social security fraud(felony), and i-9 fraud (perjury-felony) plus all misdemeanors? Or just drop charges on those here illegally?

    A "a moral dilemma" it's not. They came here the wrong way, or overstayed their visa. And every day after that, they had unlawful status in this country. They are human and subject to human law.

    Why are we even discussing this, they broke the law, and should be punished according to our laws. Unlawful entry; fine, up to 6 months in jail, deportation. Overstay a visa; deportation plus prison terms for the felonies.

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    June 16, 2013 10:51 a.m.

    Mile Lee followed, by "...disingenuous...", is like night following day...

    every day...after day...after day.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    June 16, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    Enforce the laws currently on the books and we will have no need for all this foolishness. The laws are there so why are they ignored? Who is making money off of pushing this?

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    June 16, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    I agree with this piece for the most part. It doesn't take much courage to say no to everything.

    To use the leak analogy, there is a foot of water in the basement and it is a bit silly to refuse to do anything about it until the hardware store has the right washer for the faucet. The border is a small part of the problem. There are already 11 million or so people here illegally. There are those who overstay visas or are smuggled through the border. And the numbers of those coming through the border illegally are way down compared to past years. The gang of 8, et al are trying to address the issue and I applaud them. Doing nothing just maintains the status quo which isn't good for anybody.

    If the Founders had been as Mike Lee we'd never have a Constitution. The Founders had enough humility and good will to overcome bitter differences. The immigration issue is small potatoes by comparison.

    June 16, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    Trying to undo the consequences of having a leaky border is like trying to put the smoke back in the firewood. Let's fix the border, but let's also quit treating fellow human beings so poorly. The anger about the border should be directed toward the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations which failed to secure the border, not to the people who felt (rationally so) that it was in their best interest to come here if only to work in our agricultural and construction industries.

    A lot of the collateral damage, such as obtaining or fabricating a Social Security number, is done innocently and without criminal intent. I've worked in the fields and orchards alongside these people, and I know for a fact they just want to do the work that is available for them to do.

    Yes, there's currently some exploitation on both sides. It could easily be cleared up by allowing them to pay a fine and get on with their lives. It may upset some people's sense of fairness, but it's usually those who don't understand that the biggest unfairness of all is that they were born in the USA.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    June 15, 2013 11:44 p.m.

    There seems to be no logic in Mr. Flores proposal.

    Think it through this way. You've got a leaky faucet. So what do you do? Mr. Lee proposes stopping the leak first. Mr. Florez thinks that's crazy.

    Another scenario: fraud is being committed within your business due to a lack of financial controls. Mr. Lee proposes putting controls in place first, then addressing the fraud. Mr. Florez thinks that's nuts.

    The main problem here is an unsecured border, which contributes towards two other problems: luring people to cross the border, and the exploitation of those who are here illegally for gain. The rest of this nation suffers the ill effects of this situation, from high unemployment to the financial burden of social services for illegal immigrants.

    Those calling the loudest for compassion and keeping families together just happen to also be those who gain by (exploit) this situation. Pathetic.

    Secure the border (leak) first. Then, let's talk about resolution.

    Oh, and just so you know, Mr. Florez, leadership is standing firm when the pressure on you is the greatest. Mr. Lee is doing just that. Weakness is caving to pressure.

    June 15, 2013 7:32 p.m.

    It's a federal misdemeanor to cross the border without inspection. It's a civil infraction to overstay a visa. There is no ongoing status of "illegal" for being in the US after having committed either.

    Many so-called conservatives have fallen into the trap of zero-sum thinking. If that were true, we would all live in abject poverty. Fortunately, it isn't true. Each human being brings the potential of creation, of adding to the sum of life and society.

    Too many so-called conservatives fail to recognize a moral dilemma when it smacks them in the face. When they prefer that a lower law take precedence over a higher law, they fail the test of the classical liberal, which is something to which we should all aspire.

    When you get to know some of the folks who have committed these atrocious (not) and heinous (not) infractions and misdemeanors, you'll find they're actually human beings, not monsters. I like the ones I've met. I would like them to stay. They're not criminals.

    I say let them pay a fine and let's move on.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    June 15, 2013 7:16 p.m.

    Most of the reactions to this article return us to the oft-repeated fact that neither government or the Deseret News are in tune, or in sympathy, with the feelings and thoughts of the people. The people have more sense.

  • old toquertoes Sandy, UT
    June 15, 2013 4:35 p.m.

    Mr. Florez astutely points out that Mike Lee is only tap-dancing around the issue of immigration reform. He only pretends to want comprehensive reform by offering to pick the low-hanging fruit, but I doubt he really wants anything but more machine guns and barbed wire along our border.

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    June 15, 2013 4:24 p.m.

    Secure the border already and then we'll talk. Many jobs will be lost in an already struggling economy if the libs and big business win this argument. Illegals go the front of the line for free goodies while hard working Americans are pushed to the back!!! Just like my family has been.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    June 15, 2013 4:13 p.m.

    It's a misdearmeanor for crossing the border. Visa fraud for overstaying a visa. ID theft, social security fraud, and i-9 form perjury. If we enforced the laws, no one would qualify.

    Let those who broke the laws of the land take responsibility for their actions. And let them be responsibile in fixing them. Society should not have to take the burdern of responsibility. This includes those brought here as children. They need to take responsibility for their lives and setting things right.

    The same goes for business, they also receive amnesty for the laws they break, and should be forced to take responsibility for their actions.

    You can't blame the actions of a few dishonest businessmen, church leaders, and politicians on the country. Those that encouraged them (including LaRaza) need to be held accountable. But we should not take their burden to make things right also.

    710 miles. From San Diego to the Rio Grande.

  • prelax Murray, UT
    June 15, 2013 3:42 p.m.

    With over a million green cards a year, and 3.1 visas, it's not that hard to come legally. Most visas are for 3 years, times the 3.1 milklion by three and see just how flooded our labor markets are.

    Are laws are not outdated (1996), our leaders are. We don't need more laws, we need enforcement.

    American citizens were promised enforcement in the 1986 amnesty, none came. Americans were promised the end of illegal immigration and enforcement in exchange for NAFTA, we received none.

    Either keep up this charade or NAFTA. We can't allow 33 million here and NAFTA.

  • PeanutGallery Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    A few pointed responses to John Florez's column:
    "Some seem willing to do anything to avoid making a decision on fixing immigration laws."

    -- Actually, some seem willing to do ANYTHING so that they can proudly proclaim that they did "something."

    "Among the most ardent in trying to avoid making a decision appears to be junior Sen. Mike Lee."

    -- No, actually, Sen. Lee has already made decisions on this issue. So John Florez is essentially saying, "Sen. Lee is against what I want, so that means he’s unwilling to make a decision." Huh?

    "Instead of leading, [Sen. Lee] is ... taking a piecemeal approach rather than a comprehensive approach."

    -- On an issue with such broad implications, Sen. Lee’s piecemeal approach is much wiser. Let’s just take it a step at a time. We’re only just beginning to see the destructive effects of the "comprehensive" approach in Obamacare, for example. Let’s slow down, and secure the border first.

    "In America's moment of agony, she doesn't need naysayers."

    -- But if it’s a bad policy, then we DO need "naysayers." Congrats to Sen. Lee for his wisdom and courage. “’

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    June 15, 2013 12:47 p.m.

    The "simple act of securing our borders" is not so simple. If it were SO simple, it seems that it would have already been done. The border is nearly 2,000 miles long. Do we build a 20 foot high wall, placing guard stations every mile or so, watching for illegal crossers?

    Do we mandate that businesses require a E-verify check on every employee? How do we guarantee it works?

    Do we make the legal immigration system easier to understand, cheaper to afford, and more hopeful than a years on end wait? Do we assist Mexico in creating a better economy so that people will find better paying jobs there, instead of here?

    What do we do with all the illegal immigrants already here? What about children of illegal immigrants who were born here and don't know any country other than this one?

    I want LEGAL immigration as well, but, the "simple act of securing our borders" isn't so simple. It's going to take a multi-pronged approach- not just the politicians like Senator Lee simply saying, "Seal the border." This isn't a one issue problem and anyone who says it is, is a liar.

  • Badgerbadger Murray, UT
    June 15, 2013 12:34 p.m.

    I dream of the day when we can welcome many more qualified immigrants to our great country, rather than trying to accommodate those who have come illegally.

    We keep hearing the cry that our immigration system is broken. The most broken part of it is the enforcement part of immigration. As proof I offer 13 million illegal immigrants, many of whom have been in our public schools for 12 years while their illegal status has gone completely un-addressed.

    Anyone who claims they want to fix the immigration system, but doesn't want to fix enforcement, either by fining employers who hire illegal aliens, or doesn't want to deport those who are here illegally, is just plain lying. They have a different agenda that fixing the system and they don't want what is best for our country.

    We must have full enforcement to fix the immigration problems we have. Then we can have the immigrants our country needs, rather than the law-breaking ones we are dealing with now.

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    June 15, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    The current proposal says we should grant citizenship to those who blatently violated our laws. This I am totally against and so is Sen Lee. But Sen Lee also ignores the children who were brought here illegally and who are undocumented. Sen Lee's problem is he will only look at oneside of the issue and not the whole cookie and give a solution.

    Our own nation is also resposible because we allowed Illegal immigrants to come into our communities and work for us and we need to fix that by providing either legalization with a biometrics system that requires them to abide by the law or face being deported. And we need to make that law enforceable. And we need to fix our current immigration system so we can fix the problem otherwise businesses and illegals will continue to violate the system.

    Sen Lee needs to realize he needs to lead on the issue and make a proposal instead of sitting back and saying no not yet or that doesn't work.

    June 15, 2013 10:33 a.m.

    It is unfortunate that a lot of people view an illegal border crossing as the one civil infraction for which there is no statute of limitations, nor any civil penalty that will square the perpetrator with the law. If you park illegally and pay a fine, you're then okay with the law again. Speed and get a ticket and pay the fine, then you're okay with the law again. You don't have to undo any benefit you might have gained by speeding or parking illegally. Just pay the fine and you're good to go.

    A lot of people live here who crossed the border illegally or who overstayed a visa, many of whom contribute to society in meaningful ways. Levy a fine or something to square them with the law, then let's move on to more important matters. Getting these people square with the law is really needed so they can participate fully in society like the rest of us.

    Our most valuable natural resource is the human resource. Yes, the federal government messed up by not enforcing the border. But let's make lemonade instead of sucking lemons.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    For once I think I agree with "real maverick".

    We need multi-faceted enforcement. Border security, local police (they help with DEA, ATF, WHY can't they help with illegal trespassing?), and yes, bust a few employers of illegal trespassers. Fine them and/or jail. Most of them KNOW good and well they are hiring trespassers over legal citizens!


    "Real Maverick" should try calling Mr. Obama and ask him why he doesn't do that right now. He currently has all those tools at his disposal.

    It wouldn't relate to the fact that Obama is HOPING for another 12 million people that might vote for him would it?

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    June 15, 2013 9:48 a.m.

    Two days ago the Senate voted down an amendment that would've secured the border FIRST; before any amnesties.

    That vote SCREAMS the fact that this Congress would like to continue with the mass lawbreaking and trespassing that we've been victimized with.

    Last week 400 new U.S. legal documented immigrants took the oath of citizenship to become citizens of our great nation.

    Mr. Florez, please go tell THEM its not possible to use our laws to become citizens!

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    June 15, 2013 8:46 a.m.

    So mike lee believes that securing the border needs to be done first? What does that mean? Placing military bases every 5 miles along the border? Building a big concrete Berlin Wall like structure? Or will Mike Lee actually secure the border by taking away the incentive to come here illegally, punishing severely employers who employ illegal immigrants?

    We can keep throwing billions away in border security, folks will just come up with more creative ways to get through. We can deport them all today and they will be back tomorrow. The only real solution is to punish businesses which break our laws. Once the incentive is gone to come here our illegal immigration problem will be resolved.

    Of course, folks like Mike Lee will never do anything to business.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    June 15, 2013 7:57 a.m.

    Mr. Florez it is no secret you are an open Border fan. Sen.Lee is exactly right. In 1986 amnesty (and that is exactly what this is) was granted with promises of Border Control. And that happened? Hah. That is what has led to our present situation. So lets give the rewards out to aliens who have thumbed their noses at our laws with no sure hard guarantees that we will not face this same thing years from now. One of the most disingenous Senator (Schumer) has stated that it will take years to secure the Borders. We are to believe that this administration and future administration will follow through. If these illegals were to never have voting rights this issue would be DOA in D.C. because that is what it is all abouut. VOTES Have the fence up before you let the horse out of the barn.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 15, 2013 7:21 a.m.

    Maybe Mr. Florez would have Mike Lee put his "finger in the dike" and pretend that open borders have not allowed over thirteen million people to enter this country illegally.

    Think how much misery could have been avoided if people like Mike Lee had been listened to instead of people like John Florez.

    The simple act of securing our borders would have made the entire debate on "illegal immigrants" unnecessary. The simple act of securing our borders would have made California's $30,000,000,000 deficit nonexistant. The simple act of securing our borders would have eliminated the 100% increase in health insurance that each family pays to pay for illegals who have no insurance.

    The simple act of securing our borders would have eliminated the fear that many have of being deported or of being separated from their families.

    Anyone who tells us that closing the borders should come after "solving immigration" wants the heartache and the misery to continue. They think that their support of lawlessness somehow makes that lawlessness acceptable.

  • Informed Voter South Jordan, UT
    June 15, 2013 7:19 a.m.

    Lee is not thinking linearly, as you say. He is thinking logically. The border needs to be secured first. Otherwise the flow of illegals will continue, if not increase. Plus, the government has shown itself willing to default on previous laws that secure the border as with the 1986 illegal immigration law was supposed to do as well as in recent years when Congress voted to build a fence, but it never happened. Small wonder we know better than to trust government.

  • I Choose Freedom Atlanta, GA
    June 15, 2013 6:32 a.m.

    Mr. Florez is right that immigrants are not the problem. It is ILLEGAL immigrants that must be stopped from entering this country ILLEGALLY. Either they obey our laws or they do not come. Thank God that Senator Mike Lee understands the problem. Too bad people like Mr. Flores try to confuse the issue and make this about immigration when it is not. The issue is illegal immigration.