I’m exhausted, but I figured I had to do my civic duty before I go to sleep, and let my elected official know my feelings on their immigration bill — even though Senator Dayton is one of the bill’s sponsors. So this could have more coherence to it, but here ya go.
I suppose it’s too late for you to rescind your sponsorship of HB 70, so I’m reluctant to even bother emailing you, but I’m going to anyway.
When Arizona passed their controversial immigration law last year, I was actually all for it. I couldn’t see the problem – people were here illegally, and the law enabled officers to confirm citizenship status (or legal residency). It sounded great. In retrospect, however, I think I was justifying my own prejudices.
The problem with people being here illegally can’t be solved by hunting them down, asking to “let me see your papers.” It might reduce the number of ethical, upright people whose only offense is coming here illegally, but the ones that are determined to break our laws will just go farther underground.
The bill even predicts the crimes it will create. From http://le.utah.gov/~2011/bills/hbillint/hb0070.htm:
86 (4) In conjunction with the strike force and subject to available funding, the Office of
87 the Attorney General shall establish a Fraudulent Documents Identification Unit:
88 (a) for the primary purpose of investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting individuals
89 or entities that participate in the sale or distribution of fraudulent documents used for
90 identification purposes; and
91 (b) to specialize in fraudulent identification documents created and prepared for
92 individuals who are unlawfully residing within the state.
So its authors acknowledge that fraudulent documents will become a bigger problem, and that we’ll need a task force to handle enforcement there, too – spending more funding that could have gone to other programs.
The real solution is to grant the immigrants citizenship. The federal government needs to lift immigration caps, and return to the days of Ellis Island. How have we strayed so far from these amazing words?
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
– from “The New Colossus”, engraved on a plaque inside the Statue of Liberty
Obviously, no state government can grant U.S. citizenship. But we can certainly avoid exacerbating the problem.