Monday, March 3

Is this really happening? Has Utah really gone that nuts?

According to this article, a new law (that will go into effect in 2009) will make it a misdemeanor "to conceal, harbor, transport or shelter undocumented immigrants." (And what the heck is the difference between "sheltering" and "charitable assistance"? (which will be allowed...))

Why are we not outraged by this? I REALLY REALLY REALLY do not like Nazi comparisons, but this one really just hits you over the head with it, doesn't it. Yuck. Not only that, local police will be enforcing immigration laws... Possibly the DUMBEST idea I've ever heard of... So not only will these people be living secretly in someone's attic, but if they see a crime (or are a victim to one) they won't report it. Great. Good one Utah. You really ****** up this time.

Sorry about the strong word(s). I just feel that strongly about it. Please tell me where I'm wrong. Or that I'm dreaming. Or that I'm on something... I want the immigration problem fixed as much as the next person. But I DO NOT think the above law is ANY good AT ALL.


  1. I would have to agree with you on this. I do think we should be better at enforce existing immigration laws, but I also think it should be far easier to become legal than it currently is.

    By the way, I read your article on Very well written! I quite enjoyed it. You are a very clear thinker and always provide thoughtful analysis.

  2. The Nazi Nuremburg Laws denying Jews of their human and civil rights is a valid affirmation of your thinking.

  3. I would like laws to be enforced as well (it's obviously a crucial part of society), but I just want to make sure they are good ones. Our current immigration system is broken, and a lot of good people are coming here because of it. In my mind, they are victims to the system. Probably the biggest flaw I perceive in myself here is, I don't have any bright ideas about what to do... i.e. I can point out the poop on the ground but I don't know how to dispose of it. : )

  4. It does society no good to have people living in the shadows. I think shadow dwellers are placed in a position where they are more likely to commit crime and to be a drain on our already messed up health care system. Why are we seeking to create more shadow dwellers?

    Here's my plan for composting the poop that is stinking up our front lawns...

    Allow everyone that is currently here to apply for a work permit. A work permit would be their ID, and allow them obtain a drivers license, buy a home, etc... Everyone who obtains a work permit would have to undergo a background check and if they had committed any crimes (I'm talking violent crimes, theft (other than identity, since we set them up for that) they would be deported.

    Everyone who has a work permit can apply for citizenship, and would go to the back of the line and wait their turn.

    Since coming here illegally is a misdemeanor, they would have to pay a fine when they got their work permit, and this would finance background checks and all the other administrative costs that would come along with my system.

    Employers would have to provide them the same benefits and protections that the rest of us get, and the worker could stay here as long as he or she, or a head of household person had a job (with maybe a three month grace period if they became unemployed- I'm not sure about that part, but something would be necessary).

    The second part is that we would have to immediately deport people who came here after the system was in place, but allow for them to obtain work permits from their home countries and if they can find someone to employ them, the could come.

    There might have to be some kind of a limit, maybe not, I don't know- of how many work permits. Right now there are no caps on how many people can come here illegally, and our economy seems to be handling all of the workers just fine.

    I don't think that building a fence is necessarily the answer, but making sure that people are here through the proper channels is.

    (That's just my rough draft, I'm sure politicians and lawyers would be able to turn it into something much more complicated, confusing and ineffective)

  5. Snippets of the actual bill...
    "makes it a class A misdemeanor for a person to: transport in this state an alien for commercial advantage or private financial gain, knowing that the alien is in the United States in violation of federal law, in furtherance of the illegal presence in the United States; or conceal, harbor, or shelter from detection an alien, in a place within this state for commercial advantage or private financial gain, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that the alien is in the United States in violation of federal law. "


    "charitable or humanitarian assistance, including medical care, housing, counseling, food, victim assistance, religious services and sacraments, and transportation to and from a location where the assistance is provided , by a charitable, educational, or religious organization or its employees, agents, or volunteers, using private funds."

    Those portions of the bill seem reasonable to me. It penalizes employers who knowingly transport (perhaps 100 people in a sweltering hot, airless locked trailer for 14 hours) and hire people not legal to work in this country (and subsequently pay them sub-minimum wage in poor working conditions). Of course if there are already protections for workers (legalized or not), then this bill is redundant.


  6. q - thanks for those clarifications. I loved how the article left out the "for commercial advantage or private financial gain" part.

    allie - I like your ideas. I hope something good will be done within the next few years, I just don't have a lot of hope...

  7. What about the guy I gave a ride to on Branscomb Road to Willits? He was so alien he had Brown skin and pointy ears. I knowingly transferred him, gave him money and helped him to a place where he could meet his hermanos para trabajo. I would be prosecuted, right?

  8. If you were taking him to a place where he would be working, then you may be...

  9. I think you'd only be prosecuted if you transported him somewhere for him to come work for you.

    Giving him a ride was an act of charity.

    I see how the two could quickly become blurred though.

  10. I don't know that I have the answer either, but I think you are right in classifying the illegals (well, the majority of them) as the victims. I've always thought the first step should be along the lines of making it easier to come here legally. Then people would do it. I think one of the biggest reasons for illegals is simply that we have a pretty strict definition of legal. I'm all for changing that definition.

  11. I see q's point, but other laws would, or could, penalize exploitation and inhumane treatment of workers. I'm also thinking of a place on Cesar Chavez (formerly Army) St. in San Francisco, as with countless other places around the country, where men hoping for day labor wait for somebody to drive up and pick them for a job on a farm or construction site or landscaping or whatever work they can get. I know a lot of exploitation happens, probably bordering on slavery sometimes. But isn't better to be able to work and earn something than not? Though I guess the argument that the U.S. economy is quite dependent on cheap labor of illegal immigrants is the same one that ensured slavery would be written into the original U.S. Constitution. The rabid capitalists can't have it both labor AND strict prohibitions on the use of cheap labor.

    All that said, I'm not sure how they think they would actually enforce this law. Which leads me to conclude that it was generated more out of bigotry and political maneuvering than any sincere desire to prevent exploitation. Showing how tuff they are on crime and illegal immigration. They had to put in the charitable stuff to keep it from blatantly violating the First Amendment (i.e. the State trying to proscribe the practice of religion that might include service to the poor).


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