Richard Davis: Today's immigrants resemble earlier pioneers

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  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    July 27, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    ‘Richard Davis: Today's immigrants resemble earlier pioneers’



    They were mostly extremely poor,
    poorly educated,
    New to America,
    didn't speak English,
    practiced unorthodox marriages,
    lived Socialistic,
    extremely supportive of education,
    had universal healthcare and extensive welfare programs,
    pushed for equal rights for everyone [including blacks and women],
    and even financed immigration.

    IMHO - Today's Mormon Republicans couldn't be more different.

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    July 25, 2013 11:16 p.m.

    Richard Davis, the head of the Democratic party in Utah? I think that should be in his by line.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 25, 2013 8:34 p.m.

    Re: "Like the early residents, perhaps we should welcome them rather than just complain about their legal status."

    The Prof is, of course, attempting to invoke that well-worn, liberal, victimization-industry trick of invoking our ancestor's actions as a basis for modern guilt. And, like many, many liberals before him, he suggests we should channel that underserved guilt into winking at modern lawbreaking, destroying the Rule of Law in America.

    The better, more honest inferences to be drawn from Utah's earlier uncontrolled immigration, however, center about the effect on pre-existing peoples, cultures, and civilization.

    Early Native Americans simply did NOT fare well, when confronted by uncontrolled immigration. Their cultures were diluted and destroyed. The were nearly wiped out, as a people. And their destiny was placed in the hands of strangers.

    That's the real legacy the callow Prof and his buddies in the mindless liberal, open-borders crowd would guilt us into embracing.

  • prelax Murray, UT
    July 25, 2013 7:41 p.m.

    cjb, Mexico was not in control of the land when the pioneers came. We were still at war with them in Mexico and New Mexico. Unless we declare the 11 million here as invaders and fight them with our military, there is no similarity.

    Irony Guy, I will forever be stunned at the animosity shown toward Americans who have lost jobs, had id theft, social security fraud, etc. by those here illegally and our dishonest businessmen. Americans are not against immigration, we allow more people legally now, than any other time in history. We are against those who show animosity towards this country and it's people.

    DougB, Comparing laws two hundred years apart? (founding fathers). Our laws are not being enforced, it's not the laws, but enforcement is broken.

    atl134, they pay no back taxes under s744. Once they apply for residency they start paying taxes, and are responsible from then on. The fines they pay go into a trust fund that is paid back to them in help for applying for citizenship. Other measures? Legal immigrants go through much more, it's a ruse.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    @CA Granny
    "because it seems to focus on giving all of them a free pass or giving none of them anything"

    A 13 year process involving paying fines, back taxes, and going through other measures is not exactly a free pass and is what the senate passed.

  • DougB Spanish Fork, UT
    July 25, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    "Rameumptoms" ... that's what a certain people in the Book of Mormon called the platform upon which they would stand and declare their misguided entitlements and beliefs that their current successful circumstances were surely marks of approbation by a God who loved them much more than those others who were less materially successful.

    So many of these anti-immigration comments regarding this article remind me of those who stood upon rameumptoms!

    Our current, byzantine and broken immigration system is a relatively new problem in our nation. For our first 100 years we didn't criminalize peaceful immigration and establish arbitrary quotas on who was welcome - and who was not. Further, even if someone insists on prosecuting our current flawed "documentation" laws to their fullest extent, it doesn't help me understand all the racism and scapegoating and bad information promulgated by those who irrationally fear immigrants.

    During our recent decades of passing these new, arbitrary limits on immigration we've successively targeted any population that politicians could demonize: the Chinese, the Italians, the Irish, the Catholics in general, etc.

    The truth of the matter: our founders faced no arbitrary limits - and waves of immigration creates jobs instead of using them up.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2013 2:52 p.m.

    The author, sadly, shows a huge lack of respect for Mormon, (and other)Pioneers of the west.

    Did the pioneers, upon arrival in S.L. Valley ask for WIC, foodstamps, or any other kind of charity administered (through force)by the U.S. government?

    Did they DEMAND schools teach any/all of kids in their "native tongue"?

    Did they break laws, and continue to break laws all the time they were here?

    I grew up in a mining/industrial town that was largely made up of ethnic minorities. I can't remember even ONE ethnic minority that didn't speak English. Nor did I EVER hear of them ever breaking laws. It was SEVERELY frowned upon.

    Its always interesting to me to hear those who claim "Indians were here first" (or whoever).
    Their "land title" arguments seem to end at about 1840. Why don't they argue back all the way to the dinosaurs?
    In other words, since dinosaurs were here first, none of us are entitled to the land!

    Fact is; we should ALWAYS respect and honor the laws that are in place at the time of our occupation.
    Thats something the amnesty advocates and law-breakers refuse to do.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2013 1:30 p.m.

    @Irony Guy

    "I will forever be stunned at the animosity..."

    "There is something very dark at the heart of the conservatives who want to victimize these people further."

    Not only are the above accusations lies, they also falsely transfer culpability from the guilty to the innocent. Upholding the law is not "animosity." Not allowing the poor to shoplift is not "further victimization."

    Animosity is disrespectfully trampling upon the laws and customs of a sovereign nation. It is an affront to those throughout history who have fought and died to defend it. The American people are the actual victims.

    I will forever be stunned at the utter lack of scruples and the pure greed of Utah businessmen who gladly will sell out the nation and even the birthrights of their own children and grandchildren in order to protect their illegitimate, cheap-labor pool and avoid paying their fellow Americans a fair wage.

    And there is something very dark at the heart of persons who also will bear false witness against their neighbor and spread false propaganda in order to facilitate their anti-enforcement, pro-cheap-labor agenda.

    No wonder Jesus spoke of camels, and of eyes of needles.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    July 25, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    A wonderful article and a much needed perspective. Once again, Professor Davis enhances our national dialogue.
    Is this a pro-amnesty article. Perhaps somewhat, and a good thing too.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 25, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    I will forever be stunned at the animosity shown toward the weakest and most vulnerable among us--those who build our homes and buildings, landscape our properties, clean our toilets and make our beds and wash our dishes. There is something very dark at the heart of the conservatives who want to victimize these people further. I say give them a work card and let them come in freely.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 25, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    When Mexicans moved into what was there in Texas they got permission from Mexico, they agreed to abide by Mexican law as a condition for their being let in. Mormon pioneers didn't get permission therefore they were in violation of Mexican law at the time when they came to Utah, they were .. illegal immigrants.

    Hats off to the LDS Church for recognizing that while obeying the law is important, not allowing the law to be as a hammer to push needy people in need further down is even more important.

    How many people honor the Mormon pioneers while disparaging the modern immigrants? Should we not judge ourselves and our ancestors the same way we judge others? I believe Jesus answered that question when he said .. love your neighbor as yourself

    To those who say this land wasn't inhabited by Mexicans there for the immigration was okay does that mean Russia pour people into Alaska because much of it is uninhabited?

  • prelax Murray, UT
    July 25, 2013 2:09 a.m.

    Spain nor Mexico established permanant settlements in Utah. It's a silly argument made to play on a false guilt.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    July 24, 2013 6:24 p.m.

    How can the pioneers be blamed for driving out the Utes (and other tribes), then complain the land belonged to Mexico.

    You can't argue both.

  • FT1/SS Virginia Beach, VA
    July 24, 2013 2:30 p.m.

    Just another misleading article pandering to illegal immigration. The pioneers were forced out of the United States with violence, and still provided service to the country with the Mormon Battalion. Illegals sneak across the border breaking the law the moment they set foot, and sponge off of the citizens. The comparison is not even close.

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    July 24, 2013 2:14 p.m.

    Like many of you above, I too long for the good old days. You could homestead land free, shoot as many buffalo as you wanted or deer and no taxes to pay. Crossing borders for Kenghis Khan was sooo easy and no passport required. But folks this is not 1850, gas isn't 5 cents a gallon and every country, including Sudan, has immigration laws. When I drove a car to Panama in 1965 we had to stop at every border, have our papers in order complete with visas, and pass only at the hours the border was open including not passing during lunch (3) hour. So forget the pioneers, you have to have a passport and a visa. If not, you are breaking the law. All countries have them so smarten up, we are not requiring something unusual.

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    July 24, 2013 1:28 p.m.

    I get so confused when a article like this talks of illegal migrants and legal immigrants and lumps them together as "immigrants". I am surprised (or maybe not) that a professor would try to mislead us.

  • CA Granny PETALUMA, CA
    July 24, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    As residents of California who have had many experiences with Spanish speaking immigrants beginning with my husband's first mission to Mexico in 1955 and a couples mission to Guatemala in 1997, I have mixed feelings about the current debate because it seems to focus on giving all of them a free pass or giving none of them anything, and I think the answer has to come from somewhere in the middle and it needs to be a reasonable one. Having lived in Guatemala, I know how difficult their life is.

    We have worked with two Spanish speaking branches of the church in the US and have come to love and respect those people. For many of them, the adjustment to the US culture is even harder than what they go through to cross the border and they find life here only marginally better than back home. But before we condemn them, check our own history. In Utah, the Utes were displaced, but the history of the European/Americans and the Native American tribes is not something we an be proud of. Hopefully, serious consideration of all the factors in this question will be part of decisions made regarding their status.

  • BYU Track Star Los Angeles, CA
    July 24, 2013 10:37 a.m.

    From the Ute's prespective, this was the day the White man showed up to invade their homeland. Utah Valley had a sizable Native American population. They relied on the fish from Utah Lake to supplement their diets. When the Pioneers came to Utah Lake they rapidly depleted the fish population there, much to the chagrin of the Utes. With the Reconquista of Utah by the Hispanic immigrants, I wonder how long it will be before a person like Samueal the Lamanite is raised up?

  • davidctr ,
    July 24, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    Great article. People sometimes forget their history and how it relates to their present. We do not need more xenophobia, we need a more humane and compassionate approach. Thanks for the perspective.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    July 24, 2013 1:58 a.m.

    When the pioneers arrived, we were at war with Mexico (Morman Batallion), they had withdrawn from all the land north of our present border. The war for the territories that joined America was over.

    Mexico had no immigration offices in the US. They had no immigration laws. We do, and we need to enforce them.

    If all Utahns left the state, and Mexico and the Latin American countries military forced the few remaining people out, it would be the same. As it is, there are no similarities.

  • anti-liar Salt Lake City, UT
    July 24, 2013 1:23 a.m.

    More subtle, pro-amnesty sophistry, this time using the occasion of Pioneer Day to once again promulgate the false doctrine that to be "sympathetic" is to look the other way at illegal immigration.

    I doubt the 19th Century pioneers were teaching their children that the way to residency in America is dishonesty, illegality, and disrespect for one's neighbor, which eventually will pay off in the form of Amnesty. The area back then was unsettled. There were no prohibitions on illegal entry. Today's Utah is a CIVILIZED SOCIETY with laws for orderly -- and fair -- immigration. Again, the analogy between the pioneers of yesterday and today's illegal aliens, is false.

    Certainly locals who knew better weren't pushing for legislation that would benefit a few special interests only at the expense of the rest of society, and, even more immoral, confirm for children the false lesson they were taught -- that dishonesty and illegality is the right way.

    It is time for compassion for the plight of the American family -- which suffers as a direct result of illegal immigration. The only true compassion is equal treatment at the law. Prof. Davis may want to read the 12th Article of Faith.

  • Sundance Kid USA, UT
    July 24, 2013 12:50 a.m.

    The only problem with your comparison of illegal immigrant pioneers to the illegal immigrants of today is that back in 1847, the only people in this part of Mexico were a few bands of Indians. They certainly didn't have near the economic and social infrastructure in place that we do today. They weren't worried about being forced to cover exorbitant healthcare costs for those that couldn't because they did it out of the good of their heart and because the onerous health care system of today simply didn't exist back then. Unfortunately, the lifestyle choices of many today lead us farther down that path.

    I appreciate your desire to persuade readers to be more sympathetic to the plight of modern illegal immigrants, but trying to give them a pass by comparing their legal status to that of the original Mormon pioneers ignores important economic and social contexts.