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Topic: Politics & Policy     Department: Letters

A border crosser does not an immigrant make

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I take exception to the use of the word "immigrant" by HCN or Utah (HCN, 6/27/11). As one knowledgeable about Mormon values, I pondered what had come over the Beehive State, but then I remembered Mormons are, if nothing else, pro-business. I also pondered presidential and media hypocrisy as another state "supersedes" federal jurisdiction on immigration.

An immigrant is one who enters within the law. Utah is addressing illegal border crossers, not immigrants, who are the ones most hurt by misguided political correctness. Nor is it surprising to see Utah -- despite unemployment unmatched since the Great Depression, when Franklin Roosevelt and other liberals insisted on immigration below 20,000 a year -- eager to validate a flooded labor market and those filling jobs Americans "don't want," such as manufacturing, landscaping, hospitality. Apparently 700,000 legal immigrants -- immigration at 3 times historical norms -- isn't enough.

This also shows that Obama's concerns about federal jurisdiction apply only to states that disagree with his open-borders, big-business stance, a point apparently lost on liberals. But lost also is that liberals, until the 1990s, stood absolutely for low immigration. They included labor (César Chávez offered the United Farm Workers to patrol the border); civil rights activists, such as Booker T. Washington; environmentalists including Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson; and Ben Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Even President Clinton's Council on a Sustainable Future called for low immigration.

It seems Mormons hold true to tradition while we liberals disregard ours. Our silence about those suffering most from sanctions for illegal border crossers -- the unemployed, poor and minorities, and deserving would-be immigrants -- is deafening and embarrassing.

Kathleene Parker
Rio Rancho, New Mexico

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