Richard Davis: Find the common ground on immigration reform

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  • prelax Murray, UT
    May 23, 2014 11:52 p.m.

    The examiner
    1.Lacks real enforcement teeth
    2.The illegal immigrants are free to remain in the US and simply find another job, or even return to the old one with a new stolen id.
    3.There is no spotlight on the companies who hire illegals which might serve as a deterrent
    4.Companies may find paying the fines an acceptable trade-off for cheap labor

    Washington times
    Feb. 25 2014

    Wall street journal
    May 2 2012
    While the audits don't lead to the deportation of a firm's illegal workers, they all lose their jobs.
    The government says forcing bosses to fire workers is more humane than deporting them.

    With reduced fines, and no deportations, they are a joke. It's busy work like in grade school. Less than 2.000 businesses a year out of 7.4 million. It's a real big joke.

  • UglyAmerican Baton Rouge, LA
    May 23, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    It's hard to find common ground when one side refuses to enforce laws already in place. Then where does trust that laws won't be "selectively enforced" as they are now come from? "Change the law or I'll just ignore them or find a way around them." is not a president's response but the response of a criminal. With that in mind, why bother to make any new laws for him and millions of foreigners to pick and choose which they will obey?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 23, 2014 6:23 a.m.

    @Prelax... if the raids are a joke.... quantify that statement. Do you have numbers to back up your claims?

  • prelax Murray, UT
    May 22, 2014 4:55 p.m.

    Obama's silent raids are a joke. In most cases the people working here illegally were allowed to find new jobs. The American business owner was fined (less that the law calls for), and the foreign citizens was allowed to continue breaking our laws. Somethings wrong here.

    Why keep doing things that don't work, like reform (amnesty). With 3.2 million visa workers allowed each year, good for three years, we don't need illegal help.

  • SLars Provo, UT
    May 22, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    From the Washington times:
    "The Obama administration regularly cuts a break for businesses that violate immigration hiring rules, reducing their fines by an average of 40 percent from what they should be, according to an audit released Tuesday that suggests the government could be doing more to go after unscrupulous employers."

    According to the audit, conducted by the Homeland Security Department’s inspector general, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement cut one business’s fine from $4.9 million to slightly more than $1 million — a 78 percent drop.

    Reform is a waste of time with Obama's record of enforcement. How many groups have been given waivers?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 22, 2014 3:39 p.m.

    @2 Bits... from the Wall Street Journal we have,

    "The U.S. government has launched a fresh crackdown on employers suspected of hiring illegal immigrants by notifying about 1,000 businesses across the country in recent weeks they must submit documents for audits.

    The so-called "silent raids" are the largest since July 2009 when just as many companies were notified, according to immigration attorneys, and weren't publicly disclosed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency that conducts such inspections."

    ""The latest audit push demonstrates that the government is not suspending its enforcement efforts, even during the debate on immigration," says Julie Myers Wood, former ICE chief during the Bush administration and now a compliance consultant."

    Seems that a former Bush administration disagrees with your assessment of if Obama has let up on the cause. One thing I did read is that Obama has shifted attention to white collar enforcement rather than blue collar - with the justification being these were high paying jobs being taken. Not sure if I buy that or not...

    But this is not something there has been much difference where party in charge has done much different from the others.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 22, 2014 2:54 p.m.

    Maybe the common ground we have is... WE want our jobs... and THEY want our jobs....

    I'm mostly kidding, but kinda serious. It's part of the reason we have such low wages for some jobs in America.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 22, 2014 1:51 p.m.

    @UtahBlueDevil 11:15,
    Re: "It is sort of like the war on drugs."...

    Good concept (in theory) But some facts are missing.

    #1. We do prosecute companies that hire illegals (remember the raid on the meat plant in Logan and the SLC Airport (back when Bush was in office). And Democrats condemning our government for doing it??? We just need to KEEP doing this (we stopped about 6 years ago).

    #2. In order to stop the drug trade... we do pursue and arrest producers, pushers AND consumers of illegal drugs. We aren't letting any of them off. And like the illegal immigration problem... it never goes away.


    You pretend we don't prosecute companies that hire illegals (we do... just not enough).

    We do need to address the demand-side of the equation (but NOT give up on the enforcement side). What specifically in this bill concentrates on the DEMAND side? I've heard no talk of this bill getting tough on employers that hire illegals. Bush's did... Democrats wouldn't even allow a vote on it...

    And like the war on drugs... will concentrating on the demand side work? It hasn't worked before... why would it work now?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 22, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    I do think it is interesting that so much is focused on the "illegals" , meaning those from other countries. We get all wound up on how we should be informing laws and bumping them back to where they came from... and yet little to nothing is discussed with those that are employing these people.

    It is sort of like the war on drugs. We spend billions fighting production of the drugs, and billions on interdiction in this country, and billions on putting users in jail. There is the constant discussion about how it is demand for drugs in the country is driving illegal behavior elsewhere. That if we could only reduce demand, we would also reduce the illegal source activities.

    If we could stop usage of cheap illegal labor by US employers, people wouldn't come here. So long as there is demand, there will be a supplier - regardless if it is drugs or employees. Prosecute those use the crack of cheap labor, the supply of labor will go away.

    But it is ever so much easier to blame the supplier than the user. But as we all know, demand drives supply, not the other way around.

  • tenx Santa Clara, UT
    May 22, 2014 10:29 a.m.

    1986 - Amnesty for 2.5 million illegals. Now, 28 years later and several mini amnesties, we have 12-20 million illegals. 20 years from now another amnesty for who knows how many. Conclusion=amnesties don't solve the problem. Enforcement does. Enforce laws already on the books, especially against the employers who hire illegals. Viva LEGAL immigration.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    May 22, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    Here's some common ground -- at least it should be.

    How about a stay at home mom with American kids and an American spouse, who's paid taxes, hasn't been a burden on society in any way, and yet can't get her status fixed, get a drivers license, etc because purists on the issue refuse to give an inch? The choice is stay in the shadows, live without a dl, never leave the country, even to see immediate family members you haven't seen in years, or go back to Mexico and take your husband and kids with you.

    Yes, that situation exists (I personally know several examples) because all the venom on this issue has made ANY kind of reform impossible.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 22, 2014 9:11 a.m.


    Re: "Why can goods go across boarders effortlessly but people can't"...

    Because goods don't need a job. Goods don't sell drugs or get involved in crime. They don't need to fund organized crime (to get fake IDs and SS#s). They don't need society's resources (schools, houses, jails, malls, roads, unemployment insurance, food stamps, retirement benefits, tax refunds, etc)...

    I'm amazed you would equate PEOPLE... with commodities.

    I think inside you know why they are different...


    Commodities are bought... They come across the border and are purchased by consumers.

    People are not consumed. They come, and in order to stay they must get involved with organized crime people (to get a SS#, Drivers License, housing, insurance, etc)....

    And people are not a constant. They have children. Children raised in a relatively affluent American lifestyle, educated in American schools, living the American dream. And those kids will not accept the jobs Americans don't do. Same for their children, and their children's children, and their children.... If we have 12 Million now... how many in 4 generations?? Ever done the math?

    That doesn't happen with products shipped over the border...

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 22, 2014 8:51 a.m.

    I was hoping this article would tell us where that "common ground" was.

    It took a long time getting there, but in the last paragraph I THINK he finally touched on it.

    They want jobs.... and we want them to do those jobs.

    But we don't want them taking OUR jobs (or our children's jobs).

    That's not easy. A temp-worker permit is a good idea, but won't work. When they get here on the temp-worker program... they have kids. Those kids are American Citizens. They have been through the American education system, and are used to the American life-style. They would flounder if sent back to live and work in Mexico (when their parent's visa runs out).

    Obviously they would stay... and hide... and raise their kids in America.

    Basically right back where we are today.

    So though that sounds nice... think ahead. It's not hard to figure out it would end up right where we are now.

    Even if they plan to be TEMP initially... they are going to stay (and start a family). Then it's hard to enforce the "TEMP" part of the Temp-worker program.

  • ordinaryfolks seattle, WA
    May 22, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    The only reason there is no comprehensive immigration reform (which passed in the Senate, and sits in the House of Representatives) is that the issue is campaign gold for the Tea Party and the Republican base. Nothing else need be said. This issue motivates the older, conservative crowd who hear the siren song (from Fox) of nationalism on a daily basis. That song laments the loss of privilege and majoritarian status of the mostly white, mostly conservative Christian, mostly male, mostly heterosexual and mostly older privileges to make laws and rules to suit their interests. The effrontery of women to demand equal pay! The gall of gays to demand equal treatment before the law! The horror of people believing other than their conservative Christian dogma! The arrogance of those awful non-white folks to ask to live a better life than that which we white folks chose for you! And don't you dare touch my Social Security and Medicare. Socialism!

    That is all you need to know about immigration reform. It is good for the Republicans to demagogue the issue to death.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    May 22, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    Chris B

    You might be surprised to know that some have marched back when the work was not there. And, if employers were REALLY held accountable for hiring the illegals, there would be a flood of returning illegals.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    May 22, 2014 7:15 a.m.

    My constant question is: why can't both sides work together? We all have our personal feelings about things but should we not pay attention to the things which are best for our country? It's a darn shame that these illegal people want to work and provide for their families so bad they will do anything to accomplish that and yet you look at the number of citizens on Welfare(many who abuse the system because they do not want to have to work). There is the difference here. Wanting to work and provide and not wanting to work and expect to be coddled by our system. There are good and bad in every nationality but I've known personally some very good, honest and hard working Mexican people here in Utah, Arizona and Las Vegas. They are the cream of the crop. They are citizens now and if only the other illegals would be patient and do what it is legally required to become a citizen. They don't want anything more than we want...freedom.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 22, 2014 7:02 a.m.

    Are you all serious. This has nothing to do with actually solving problems. If it were, we would have this done, or at least partially done. But this is about winning political points.... not solving problems. We have let the parties make themselves more important than country. When one party wins, a good portion of the country looses.

    Lets stop pretending that anything that is going on in Washington has something to do with the well being of this country. We are obsessed in the sport of politics. We are divided like the Yankees and Red Sox. Both sides hate each other.... and winning.... at all cost is all that matters.

    There is too much money at stake in keeping people from working together. MSNBC and FoxNews would have nothing to report if Washington actually worked. Talk radio would dry up if there wasn't another side to hate.

    Immigration reform is just the half time entertainment.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    May 21, 2014 11:31 p.m.

    Why can goods go across boarders effortlessly but people can't? Do you believe in free markets or not?

    Not, if you did you would see that fiat currency manipulation is the only way to create the condition that a Mexican worker has to work ten times as long for the same benefit as an american worker a few miles away.

    Yet a bar of gold or a pound of sugar can cross the border without taxes and without losing value. Did the Lord create the world so a few could Lord themselves above the others?

  • SLars Provo, UT
    May 21, 2014 10:45 p.m.

    The answer is at hand, the court just upheld the right for cities to stop people from renting to illegal immigrants. A local government can also force local business to use e-verify, with penalties.

    Funny how enforcement stories never make it into the national media.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    May 21, 2014 9:21 p.m.

    We tried the "common ground" and "comprehensive solution" in 1986 with Simpson-Mazzoli, and it was a total disaster.

    We were promised that the border would be secured if we gave amnesty to millions of criminals who came here illegally. Well, the amnesty got done, and the border was never sealed.

    Fool me once....

    I would support some sort of path to citizenship, but ONLY if the border sere secured FIRST and that illegal immigration was demonstrably cut to near zero for a period of three years before ANY of the amnesty provisions were implemented.

    However, the Democrats refuse to do anything that will hinder their adding 12 million undocumented Democrats to voter rolls by November, 2016.

    No amnesty, not now, not ever. Secure the borders! Welcome legal immigrants, and prosecute any who break our laws to get here.

  • Spoc Ogden, UT
    May 21, 2014 6:26 p.m.

    The problem with the concept of "common ground" lies in the fact that the primary motivators of the opposing sides of the issue must lie on that common ground.

    On the left it is seen as a recruiting tool. Even if the adults do not seek citizenship, their citizen children are more likely to support leftist candidates, thus ensuring their hold on power as long as they feel like Latinos first and Americans second. They have a vested interest in non-assimilation.

    The Chamber of Commerce sees it as a supply and demand issue. By having enough potential employees available, they can pick those willing to work for less. There is no such thing as a job Americans are unwilling to do, just pay scales driven low by abundant labor, making the rich richer at the expense of the wage earner.

    On the Right it is seen as a threat to the country. Nations/borders are often defined by language. Whenever a country has a bipolar language you get civil unrest. Look what it is doing for Ukraine! Or Israel, Ireland, Belgium, France, Georgia, etc. The Right has a vested interest in a common national identity.

    Common ground?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 21, 2014 6:03 p.m.

    Yes, LDS Liberal, who would have thought that one person would have shut down the entire government to get his way? Who would have ever though that that person would have jeopardized the health of every child on WIC or turned away VETS from needed medical care, or blocked every visitor, from everywhere in the world, some on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to visit the United States, just so that the world would know that he was the President and that nobody had the right to defund his ObamaCare - even though 59% of the people told the Democrats, who were the only elected officials to vote for that bill, that they did not want ObamaCare?

    Obama was the only person in America who could order the shutdown of the government. ALL programs were fully funded except ObamaCare. Not one Republican voted for ObamaCare and now not one Democrat wants to be identified with ObamaCare - including the President - who refuses to implement it as written and as signed.

    Where's Obama's "common ground"?

    May 21, 2014 5:36 p.m.

    Ford DeTreese

    The H-2a agriculture visa is unlimited, you fill out one form for all the workers you need. I picked cherries in Utah county, the farmer I worked for had no problem getting the youth in the area to work. They also hired a Navajo family that worked there for years.

    Now, most people here illegally have moved from the farms to the city. They have found easier work for better pay in construction, service and hospitality industries. Look at what happened after the amnesty of 1986, most farm workers, once they had citizenship left. It's a fact, look it up.

    Amnesty has been our policy for 25 years, it's failed in every respect. It's time for enforcement. It's time to get tough on employers, force them to pay the cost of deportation. That's my opinion.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2014 4:38 p.m.


    What is your plan for the 12 million already here?

    They all lose their jobs and what?

    If you really think 12 million would suddenly march home - oh boy you clearly don't understand how this works do you?

    May 21, 2014 4:27 p.m.

    Using illegal help and by passing US labor laws is not free market. By upsetting the laws of supply and demand, business has fixed the market to cause low wages and high unemployment. This would be the same as employees and customers being able to pay what they want for a business goods, without prosecution.

    Vernon Briggs, a Cornell University labor economics professor stated:
    "The toleration of illegal immigration undermines all of our labor; it rips at the social fabric. It's a race to the bottom. The one who plays by the rules is penalized... a guest worker program guarantees wages will never go up, and there is no way American citizens can compete with guest workers."

    Agriculture is a red herring, as only 3% of those here illegally work in it.

    Shame on those that encourage people to lie, steal and covet to supply business with cheap labor.

    Things should stay the same until we get leaders who are honest. Then we can deal with those here illegally by requiring them to return home and come back legally. Fix the problem, don't kick the can down the road.

  • happy2bhere clearfield, UT
    May 21, 2014 3:24 p.m.


    "...only controlled open borders will work." However, without the border being secured, by a fence and manpower, you can't have "controlled" borders. Otherwise you end up with what we have now, namely, legal and illegal immigration.

    LDS Liberal

    Your correct to a point. "....the lack of compromising isn't coming from the Left...

    It's coming from both the Left and the Right. Obama and (especially) Reid are as stubborn to work with as any of the Republicans might be.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 21, 2014 2:59 p.m.

    We're talking finding "common ground" with the same - my way, or the highway - folks who shut-down the entire Federal Government over ONE issue when they didn't get their way?

    Let's just say the lack of finding "common ground" or the lack of compromising isn't coming from the Left...

  • RichardB Murray, UT
    May 21, 2014 2:22 p.m.

    Oh please. Even the LA TIMES admits Obamas deportation numbers are fixed. He has been counting returns at the border as being deported, unlike all the Presidents before him who counted them separate.

    You want to solve the immigration problem, then we need to start with a fair and balanced media that is not campaigning for cheap illegal labor for it's advertisers.

    Then enforce the law, and make sure no one else dies in the desert or separates their family because of greed encouraged by some of our leaders, the business community, local church leaders and the media.

  • Ford DeTreese Provo, UT
    May 21, 2014 1:36 p.m.

    "By filling out the proper paperwork - farmers can get all the agricultural workers they need."

    Oh please. This is the best you can come up with. Tell this to the farmers who can't find workers except the illegal variety.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2014 12:26 p.m.

    "ford...." By filling out the proper paperwork - farmers can get all the agricultural workers they need.
    Most of them don't bother to do that. WHY should they? Immigration laws are seldom enforced anyway.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    May 21, 2014 11:36 a.m.

    This is one issue where I don't understand fellow conservatives who refuse to give an inch. This issue is minor compared to what the Founders had to deal with. Yet they were able to find common ground on huge issues. If they had been self righteous and intransigent, even when they had the correct position on a huge issue like slavery, our nation may well have been short-lived. Instead they humbled themselves -- and were divinely guided IMO.

    I believe the objective should be a path to legal status, not citizenship. That will take the wind out of the sails of the Ann Coulters who claim the sky would fall if any kind of reform passes.

    ". . . start dealing with reality and stop living in Talk Radio Land." Well said.

  • Ford DeTreese Provo, UT
    May 21, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    Almost fifty years ago, when I was a youth, I earned summer money by picking cherries for my grandfather, who owned a couple of small orchards. By the time I had gone off to college and my dad was running the orchard, he couldn't get local kids to pick the cherries. The only way the fruit got picked was by hiring the "Mexicans," what they called illegal immigrants back in the 1980s. That was more than 30 years ago. Nothing has changed in that time, except that our reliance on illegal farm help has increased.

    So, come on, conservatives. Let's hear your solution to this real-world dilemma. What's your ideologically pure answer to this problem? Put all the fruit farmers in jail? Let the fruit rot on the ground? Allow the farmers to just go broke? Please, speak up.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    May 21, 2014 10:08 a.m.


    I am probably correct in assuming that neither you nor your kids would take one of those agricultural jobs that has been filled by illegal immigrants. I wouldn't either. And so it goes. We have an entire industry that feeds America and many beyond its borders, but it can't get American workers to take the jobs that make producing food possible.

    When conservatives start dealing with reality and stop living in Talk Radio Land, maybe we can find some common ground. But not while they refuse to open their eyes and see the world around them.

  • Demiurge San Diego, CA
    May 21, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    Common ground? Immigration reform is a thinly veiled attempt to once again decimate the labor laws in this country by allowing a flood of cheap labor to occupy jobs, either in the trades by Mexicans, or in the professions by Indians. There is no other reason for the push, and exactly why I as a liberal am pushing back. US companies love a supply of cheap exploitable labor, and they seem to find media people either willingly or ignorantly supporting that desire.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    May 21, 2014 9:32 a.m.

    Commmon ground?

    We can't get the Utah State Republicans who are Mormons to follow the LDS Church's endorsement of the Utah compact!

  • watchman Salt Lake City, UT
    May 21, 2014 9:04 a.m.

    You are talking common sense, Richard, and this demonstrates why the 'comprehensive reform' passed by the senate should not and probably will not be passed. The problem areas should be attacked one at a time and the one you have described, with temporary workers, is an important one. By expanding the temporary visa program anyone working under that category can do so legally and it brings accountability into the system rather than allowing the illegals to operate under the radar undetected.

    The next step would be to have strict enforcement on those employers that do not hire their employees legally.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    May 21, 2014 8:58 a.m.

    We already have a "common ground". The "common ground" is the laws set for immigration into America. No one is allowed to come until invited. That's the common ground. The uncommon ground is for anyone to thumb his nose at those laws. Those who came here illegally knew they were entering illegally, otherwise, they would have entered, when invited, with all the necessary papers. They chose to sneak across. They knew what they were doing was illegal.

    Send them home at their expense. If they complain that their families would be broken up, then let the entire family leave as a unit. Crime is crime. Mercy cannot rob justice until someone has paid the price. Those calling for immigration reform are demanding that our laws NOT be observed and that those who broke the law be rewarded for their crime.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    May 21, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    There is no middle ground. Those on the right want to build a wall that is leak proof, but that is impossible. They will get all weepy about the free market system, and then express outrage when it works, which is what has happened with immigration. The ongoing wave of immigration speaks to a number of issues. Economic conditions in third world nations, unfilled jobs in the US (and other Western countries - we aren't alone in this), and other market forces are the cause. In a way, we should be grateful that there are so many hard working people coming here who want to work and perform work that Americans don't want to do. In the end, only controlled open borders will work. Make it easy for people to enter, register and find work. We can make it reciprocal with the other nations. But reality tells us that walls, tougher enforcement, deportations and so forth do not work. People are willing to die to come here. Face the facts.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    May 21, 2014 6:58 a.m.

    But what happens when one side prefers obstructionism to finding a common ground?

    Listen, the solution is so simple!

    Job creators? You hire illegally: you lose your business license and are sent to prison for a min of 5 years. Suddenly, we would find job creators employing legally.

    Instead, we see these altruistic beings continually thumb their noses at us and trampling all over our laws. And they've bought off the GOP. The GOP's plan does nothing to discourage illegal immigration. Deport them today and they'll be back tomorrow!

    Put the pressure on the job creators. They're the real criminals that no one seems to talk about. We wouldn't have a problem with illegal immigration if job creators just stopped hiring illegally.

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    May 21, 2014 6:19 a.m.

    Not when you're dealing with "All-or-Nothing" Tea-Publicans.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    May 21, 2014 4:30 a.m.

    Finding common ground is easy. There is plenty of it.

    But, we want it all. If we don't get everything we want, we wont even take the common ground issues.
    We want to use the common ground, common sense pieces as bargaining chips in an effort to pass our controversial parts.

    Welcome to partisanship in the 21st century.

  • wigglwagon Mariion, Va
    May 21, 2014 1:35 a.m.

    The solution to the problem of illegal immigration is very simple and very cheap.

    Congress should institute a bill mandating prison time without parole for the employers of illegal workers. That would virtually end the problem of illegal immigration. That would also put at least 8 million American workers back on jobs and paying taxes instead of needing to collect unemployment and welfare.

    Actually, it would not just be cheap. America would come out hundreds of BILLIONS of dollars ahead. Just think, 8 million families off of welfare and back to paying taxes like they used to do when America was enforcing it's laws.