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Immigration in US news roundup

Immigration in US news roundup

Roundup of news about immigration and faith:

From the Salt Lake City Tribune on the guest-worker legislation enacted at the last legislative session, signed and witnessed by LDS leaders and the Rt. Rev. Scott Hayashi, Episcopal Diocese of Utah:

Supporters of Utah’s guest-worker immigration law on Monday launched the first substantive effort in its defense with a website laying out a case for supporting the law to delegates considering the issue at the upcoming Republican state convention.

Last week, supporters of HB116 — including the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Sutherland Institute, lawmakers and several immigration lawyers — met at the chamber’s downtown offices to coordinate the public relations push.

Scott Trotter, spokesman for the LDS Church, issued a statement saying it wasn’t involved in the effort, but also allowed for some wiggle room as to whether a statement might be issued by the church soon.

“We believe the package of bills passed by the Utah Legislature, including House Bill 116, is a responsible approach to the complex question of immigration reform, and reserve the right to make our position clear and set the record straight now and in the future if it is necessary,” Trotter’s statement read.

The Chicago Tribune reports that the Supreme Court has ruled that in-state tuition can be offered to kids who attend and graduate from California High Schools regardless of document status:

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a challenge to California’s policy of granting reduced, in-state tuition at its colleges and universities to graduates of its high schools who are illegal immigrants.

The justices turned down an appeal from lawyers for a conservative immigration-law group that contended “preferential treatment” for illegal immigrants violated federal immigration law. They cited a little-known provision in a 1986 law that barred states from giving “any postsecondary benefit” to an “alien who is not lawfully present in the United States ? on the basis of residence within a state.”

And a letter in the Denver Post from a student to President Obama:

Dear President Obama:

My name is Isaias Vasquez. Last month I graduated with honors from the Bruce Randolph School in Denver. I was the student body president and a leader with Metropolitan Organizations for People.

While I’m very proud of how far I’ve come, I face an uncertain future.

A few months ago, you lauded my school in the State of the Union address: “Three years ago, [Bruce Randolph] was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado, located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97 percent of the seniors received their diploma.”

I felt as though your words were directed toward me, and was so thankful you had recognized the hard work of everyone at my school. What you forgot to mention was that at Bruce Randolph, between 40 and 50 percent of the students are undocumented immigrants. My school may graduate 97 percent of its students, but only about half of them have any real hope of attending college.

I am one of those undocumented students. Ten years ago, when I was only 8, I came to Colorado from Mexico. My family migrated to the U.S in search of a better tomorrow when our life as farmers in Zacatecas worsened. I thank God for having such a hard-working family and such strong family values.

Arriving in Colorado, I felt as if there was nothing I couldn’t do, from winning first place in the science fair in third grade to the Young Authors award in fourth grade. I grew up believing that in the U.S, with hard work, my dreams would come true.

But as I got older, I began to realize I was considered inferior and to sense the fear in my community, that my family and I could be deported at any moment. Now, as an undocumented student ready to graduate, I am paying the price for a decision I had no part in making. (read the rest here)

What are the stories in you diocese? What are your thoughts on solving the issues surrounding immigration?


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Lois Keen

I pray for a world without borders, or at least no borders in the Americas. I guess immigrant reservations, like those we set up for the indigenous people in this land, will be next. They would be a step up from what we have now, including the attitudes we have. The people from Latin America are more entitled to this land than we are. Indigenous blood runs in their veins. And we dare to call them “illegal”, “immigrant”, “undocumented”. Don’t get me started.

M. Brooke R.

I’m from Utah and I’m not thrilled about this. I’m not thrilled about Bishop Hayashi being there to sign this bill, and a further enforcement bill – HB 497.

From the website supporting HB 116:

“House Bill 116 is first an enforcement bill. It creates a database of illegal immigrants living in Utah. It allows the state to conduct criminal background checks on illegal immigrants, including fingerprinting and biometrics (facial recognition). Businesses will use this database to make sure they don’t hire illegal immigrants; and, there is a three strikes rule where the third time a business hires an illegal immigrant they forfeit their business license.”

What are the problems of illegal immigration? There are none. Undocumented immigrants do work that so many of we are unwilling to do. They do this often under horrible conditions – knowing that they can’t speak up. They get taxes taken out of their paychecks and don’t get any sort of social security benefits or other government benefits. They don’t take jobs from us. The reaction against undocumented immigrants is full of hypocricy and goes against the values of the founders of this country. Of course, though, the founders of this country could be considered illegal immigrants. Further – they could be considered occupiers of land that is already the land of other nations – an occupation that we continue today.

I’ve met Bishop Hayashi. I subdeaconed when he came to our church in our early service and then he confirmed me in our later service. He is a good man. He is a kind man. I wish I could go out to lunch with him and ask him theological questions and about his life and why he felt called to serve God. I can’t wait until he comes back to our little church again! I disagree with his being there when this bill, and HB 497, were signed though. I am disappointed that he was there.

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