Friday, July 22, 2011

As a Society, How Did We Arrive at This Point?

How did we arrive at this point, as a society? A people arrives from another country seeking employment, so destitute that they are willing to work for a pittance, and, because they do not have their paperwork, we seek to pile punishment after punishment upon them. We blame them, in part, for our failed economy. We assume they are going to go on to become our criminals -- our murderers, thieves, and rapists. We call them "aliens," and speak of an "invasion."  Do we forgive them for not having their paperwork? No, for that would be amnesty. Now, amnesty might be just another word for forgiveness -- a thing we believe in -- but because we have been trained not to be amnesty-ites, we will not forgive them. We tally up how much they cost us in welfare, never minding that we could tally up such totals on other segments of our society, and cast them out just as well when the total reached a certain point. We forbid that anyone should help them, and if any of our elected officials moves toward them, to help, we snarl and promise to have that person removed from office. If any of our churches seeks to help them, we are perplexed, not fathoming why the church would support them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good Democracy Allows More Voices

Went to a redistricting public hearing the Utah Legislature held tonight. I have argued that instead of chasing after trying to have every senate district have the same number of people in it, we should be seeking to see that each community of interest is represented. And, I encouraged the legislators to give voice to every group possible. After it finished, had this thought: "Democracy might well be giving rule to the majority. But good democracy is giving a part of the rule to every group." Hmm, have to work on that. Late, though, so must go to bed.
One more quick try: "Democracy needs only to listen to the majority voice, but good democracy hears all the voices."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Missionaries Allowed to be Undocumented

So, you read how it is illegal to transport or harbor a person who is in the United States who shouldn't be here. And, you say, "Wait a minute, doesn't the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints send undocumented people on missions?"

I don't know whether the church does send such on missions, other than I have heard some say that it does.

Tonight, I ran across the law that says, in essense, "Send them on missions. We, the federal government allow for that."

There it is, in 8 U.S. Code 1324. First, read the portion that would seem to make it illegal. Then read the portion that says an exception is granted for missionary work. (Source: U.S. Code as quoted online by the Cornell Law School)

1324. Bringing in and harboring certain aliens

(a) Criminal penalties


(A) Any person who --

(i) knowing that a person is an alien, brings to or attempts to bring to the United States in any manner whatsoever such person at a place other than a designated port of entry or place other than as designated by the Commissioner, regardless of whether such alien has received prior official authorization to come to, enter, or reside in the United States and regardless of any future official action which may be taken with respect to such alien;

(ii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, transports, or moves or attempts to transport or move such alien within the United States by means of transportation or otherwise, in furtherance of such violation of law;

(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation . . .

(II) aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts,

shall be punished as provided in subparagraph (B). . . .

(B) A

(C) It is not a violation of clauses [1] (ii) or (iii) of subparagraph (A), or of clause (iv) of subparagraph (A) except where a person encourages or induces an alien to come to or enter the United States, for a religious denomination having a bona fide nonprofit, religious organization in the United States, or the agents or officers of such denomination or organization, to encourage, invite, call, allow, or enable an alien who is present in the United States to perform the vocation of a minister or missionary for the denomination or organization in the United States as a volunteer who is not compensated as an employee, notwithstanding the provision of room, board, travel, medical assistance, and other basic living expenses, provided the minister or missionary has been a member of the denomination for at least one year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Senator Mike Lee Not Closed to Waiver Idea

(Note: This post has been updated, as Sen. Lee responded to the Daily Herald article with a Facebook Post indicating he is not inclined to introduce legislation providing a waiver.)

This is exiting to me. Senator Mike Lee is not saying he will introduce legislation providing that the federal government give Utah permission to have a guest worker program for immigrants (HB116), but he is open to considering it.


The authors of HB116 anticipated federal permission would be preferred before the bill goes into effect, so the bill itself asks that a waiver allowing a guest worker program be sought from the federal government. I have not heard that any federal authority has even considered granting such a waiver to Utah.

Till now. Extremely. The first ray of hope that a waiver can be obtained.

I love Sen. Lee for his fight to balance the budget. If government were to end its deficit spending, that would be historic, and who knows but what it might not save our very nation, at least in a manner of speaking. I don't know what kind of ruination will come if we continue to pile up debt, but obviously at some point we face an economic ruin. I love Sen. Lee for his efforts on the budget, and I love him for being open minded enough to weigh whether a federal waiver should be created to make HB116 legal.

So, this is good news.

Well, after writing the above, here is what Sen. Lee posted on Facebook:

"One local newspaper has apparently interpreted a statement I made last week as somehow expressing a willingness to help Utah secure a waiver from Congress to allow the state to implement HB 116. Lest there be any uncertainty, I have never been, and am not now, willing or inclined to secure such a waiver. I have indicated many times that I'm open to considering and debating the merits of any serious proposal to expand the authority of the states (all states) in the employment-regulation arena, but trying to exempt a single state from a broad range of existing immigration laws would, I believe, be an unwise exercise in futility."

Alas, alas. So, still no ray of hope. I know of no congressperson considering introducing legislation for a waiver.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Is This Enough Reason to Kick Them Out?

"What I don't like is when they get your order wrong at McDonald's," someone at work said, explaining what is wrong with some of those who come to our country. The thought was, if they come to America, they should speak our language.

"For English, press 1. For Spanish, press 2." The person I was speaking with didn't like to have to go through such exercises. This is America, and we should all speak English. Period.

I wonder about our being so willing to eject them from our country for such reasons. Here is a people coming to America, so poor that they take some of the poorer jobs in our country, including as fastfood workers. They come here, take the job at McDonald's, and within a day, mess up on someone's order. Now, not in jest, but in all seriousness, we would tell them they cannot stay in our country because they got our order wrong?

"Get out of my country, if you cannot get my order right!"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One Way to Tell the Good from Bad

Aren't there so many stories like this, of legislators taking trips at government expense? And, should we allow them to have such trips? This story does not say what the conference is about, but I so wonder but what almost any conference would be without justification. If they want to learn about a topic, much is online, and much available by simply calling on the telephone those sources who are authorities on various topics.

Are there companies that put these conferences together, knowing the legislators are each allotted $1,500 per year for travel expenses (and are they allotted other money that would fit into the trip?) that simply are taking advantage of the expense account the legislators have?

There is an axiom, that if you put money on the table, someone will come along a sweep it up. By making it available to the legislators, the legislators not only see a need to spend it, but someone comes along with the idea of creating the conferences just so they, too, can sweep the money off the table.

Legislators should not be going to these conferences simply because an account exists making it possible. They should not be looking to spend taxpayer money just because is available.

Here's the story from 4 News:

EXCLUSIVE: Legislators trip to Hawaii may cost Utahns tens of thousands

Of all the things we use in deciding who to vote for, whether they take perks like this perhaps should be as important as any. Having legislators who are there as servants of the public, as opposed to looking out for themselves, is (or should be) important to us. Whether they spend this money also serves to indicate whether they will wastefully spend other tax dollars. So, if you want someone who will hold back on government spending, you should consider whether you want to vote for these people.

A field trip to the Mexico border to learn first hand what is going on, I can understand. But most of the "conferences" are nothing but wasteful spending. The good thing about them is that they perhaps unmask the unfaithful office holders.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wish a Nudge from Lockhart Would Help - Speaker Lockhart goes after Utah delegation on immigration
Wish a nudge from Speaker Lockhart would bring someone from the Utah Congressional delegation to help the immigrant (including those here without paperwork). There is nothing wrong with helping another person. One can, indeed, argue that we should not help them, as they are all lawbreakers, having entered without paperwork. And one could argue it lessens and makes mockery of the efforts of those who have come here legally. I do not think so. I think of the story of the workers who came at the 11th hour, and were paid the same as those who came earlier in the day. Yes, I wonder about our charity for others, when all we can think of are ways to bring to justice and punish a people who often seek nothing more than to work, and often earning no more than a pittance, at that. Punish them? Yes, I do ask where charity is.