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Utah Compact would encourage illegal immigration (Mark Shurtleff, Chamber, Sutherland, Catholic Church)

Earlier today a group of business leaders and public officials signed "The Utah Compact" (utahcompact.com), a small set of principles on immigration. Rather than curbing illegal immigration, their ideas would encourage more of it. Those involved include Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, the Utah Chamber of Commerce, the Sutherland Institute [1], the Catholic Church, and Salt Lake City mayor Ralph Becker [2].

Here's their first of five points:

Immigration is a federal policy issue between the U.S. government and other countries - not Utah and other countries. We urge Utah's congressional delegation, and others, to lead efforts to strengthen federal laws and protect our national borders. We urge state leaders to adopt reasonable policies addressing immigrants in Utah.

We don't allow states to set their own foreign policy (even if some localities try to work around that), but immigration is much more than just an abstract policy between countries. In many cases it causes harm to states and massive illegal immigration indicates a dereliction of duty on the part of the federal government. Simply "urg[ing]" Congress to do something isn't enough. Their point would allow Congress and the rest of the federal government to continue the current situation. As for their "reasonable policies", one can only wonder what those would be. Shurtleff supports both drivers licenses and in-state tuition for illegal aliens (see DREAM Act), so perhaps we have a clue. As for "protect our national borders", see secure the border.

Their second point:

We respect the rule of law and support law enforcement’s professional judgment and discretion. Local law enforcement resources should focus on criminal activities, not civil violations of federal code.

In other words, they're against the 287g program. Considering that the Department of Homeland Security does relatively little interior enforcement, they'd be sending a message that all illegal aliens have to do is keep their nose clean (aside from the odd identity theft here and there) and they'd get to stay here.

The third:

Strong families are the foundation of successful communities. We oppose policies that unnecessarily separate families. We champion policies that support families and improve the health, education and well-being of all Utah children.

That's an example of false compassion. If they oppose separating families then they should be opposing illegal immigration. Unless we declare open borders, encouraging even more mixed-status families will only lead to more separation instances. The vast majority of illegal aliens came here of their own free will and fully knowing the risks. They're the ones who put themselves and their families in a precarious position. The Utah Compact would seek to blame U.S. laws and the citizens who want them enforced for the situation.

The fourth:

Utah is best served by a free-market philosophy that maximizes individual freedom and opportunity. We acknowledge the economic role immigrants play as workers and taxpayers. Utah’s immigration policies must reaffirm our global reputation as a welcoming and business-friendly state.

Their "free-market philosophy" is more than a bit skewed. Most illegal aliens and many legal immigrants are lower-skilled, and lower-skilled labor is massively subsidized (an example). Their idea of a "free market" is actually an example of "privatizing the profits and socializing the costs": those who'd profit from the labor of illegal aliens (or from their bank deposits) wouldn't pay the full cost of that labor but would shunt the costs of incarceration, schooling, welfare, and so on to the residents of Utah or to the federal government.

Finally:

Immigrants are integrated into communities across Utah. We must adopt a humane approach to this reality, reflecting our unique culture, history and spirit of inclusion. The way we treat immigrants will say more about us as a free society and less about our immigrant neighbors. Utah should always be a place that welcomes people of goodwill.

This is the paragraph were they most try to conflate illegal and legal immigration, and it too is an example of false compassion. Their "humane" approach would encourage more illegal immigration, leading to more mixed-status families, more family separation, and angrier residents as the laws continued not to be enforced. That paragraph is also a Utah-specific version of the immigration tradition fallacy.

And, as a bonus, the announcement for their signing ceremony indicates that their goal is to "create a constructive, civil community dialogue about Utah’s role in fixing the nation's broken immigration system" which uses the misleading system is broken canard.

Those involved in the Compact would encourage more illegal immigration and create more problems for Utah and the U.S. Don't fall for their false compassion.

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[1] From sutherlandinstitute.org they're a "conservative, non-profit, state-based public policy group".
[2] Others involved are listed at
utahcompact.com/sign-the-compact/view-submissions
[3] From this (Deseret News, 12/10/06 ):

Shurtleff also has cultivated strong ties to the Latino community because he has been sympathetic to the plight of illegal aliens. He has weighed in on various issues, such as allowing the children of illegals to have drivers' licenses and to pay in-state college tuition. As a result, he has been criticized him for being pro- illegal aliens.

Thu, 11/11/2010 - 13:50 · Importance: 4