Missionary efforts affected by Arizona immigration law?

One of the primary sponsors of the Arizona immigration law. state Sen. Russell Pearce, is LDS. This article makes the argument that there is a widespread perception among Arizona Latins that the Church – or at least some of the most prominent politicians who are LDS – are against Latins because they support the law.

Key excerpts:

One prospective convert stopped seeing the missionaries because “I decided I did not want to expose my kids to a religion that has members that hate other people because they are different,” Corral said.

A branch president says the missionaries are getting doors slammed in their faces.

Kenneth Patrick Smith, a Mesa lawyer and president of the Valencia Branch, a Spanish-speaking LDS congregation in Mesa, said missionaries from his church have had doors slammed in their faces since Arizona’s new law was signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in April.

One long-time member says other Latins blame Mormons.

“It is embarrassing to have to defend the church for the thoughts of one man,” said Castañeda, a member of the Spanish-speaking Liahona Second Ward in Mesa.

My take: supporters of this law, no matter how well-intentioned, completely underestimate how much the Latin community opposes this law and how discriminatory they believe it is towards them. Hispanics truly feel this law makes them second-class citizens, constantly under suspicion because of their ethnicity.

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

153 thoughts on “Missionary efforts affected by Arizona immigration law?

  1. As stupid as I think this law is, the reaction of this particular individual is overblown. This misguided state law maker, who happens to be a member of the Church does not speak for the Church. His interpretation of Church teachings may very well be off the charts, as far as I know–that’s not or should not be the Church’s fault. This is a political fight, not an ecclesiastical one. The Church simply can’t or shouldn’t be tarred with the irrational actions of its individual members. To further suggest that the Church hates Hispanics because of the results of this single lawmaker in Arizona is also off the wall.

  2. The Church simply can’t or shouldn’t be tarred with the irrational actions of its individual members.

    Why not? From primary age, we teach that as members of the Church we represent the Church to the public. We love pointing out the upstanding members of society who are also members of the Church. For better or worse, we members of the Church represent the Church as a whole to the uninitiated.

  3. Here we go, I’m sure I’m going to get eaten alive for my opinion on this….

    First, missionaries always have and always will get the door slammed in their face…for a variety of rational and irrational reasons. Get over it, get back to work and keep trying to spread the word. Missions are hard. If you didn’t assume that when you went out, then I guess you’re learning it now.

    Second, Russell Pearce the man who sponsored the law is LDS and a colossal buffoon, who keeps getting elected I suspect because he lives in a heavily LDS district and has convinced the members to vote for him. For what it’s worth, I used to live in his district. He does have some stupid views and stands on the issues, and heavens I cringe everytime he is on the radio or TV. However, I don’t see him as a racisit, or LDS people in Arizona as racists. They, like many other people, want safe communites. The Federal govt was not doing it’s job, so the state of Arizona did what it should do, stepped up, passed laws, and will now enforce them.

    Third…have any of you who oppose this law, or see it as a bad thing actually read it? Have you read it? I have, and you can too, right here: http://is.gd/ceGvH . It is not the monster it’s been portrayed to be.

    No where in the law does it say, “Papers please” or “People with the last names of Martinez, Chavez, or similar shall be picked on”. What it does say is that all state, city and county law enforcement will enforce Federal immigration law, that cities can no longer pass sanctuary city laws and that racial profiling is PRHOBITED! Read the bill!!

    Finally, as members of the Church we believe in “obeying the law of the land”. I’m not saying turn people away from the Church, but you know, you should be here legally, and obeying the laws if you’re going to be baptized.

    There you go…let the carnage begin.

  4. “Here we go, I’m sure I’m going to get eaten alive for my opinion on this…”

    No worries. I stopped reading your comment after the first line.

  5. Joyce, thanks for your brave stand. It’s tough to go against political correctness sometimes. The key issue is that it is important for people of good faith to work through issues without contention and try to understand each other.

    As I said on Facebook, I have read the key section of the law. There are really two key issues:

    1)Does the law increase pressure and require police to check the immigration status of people in cases where they otherwise would not? The answer is yes.
    2)Does the law increase the perception on the part of the Latin community that they are being targeted because of their ethnicity? I can tell you from personal experience (two of my kids are Latin and look Latin) definitely, DEFINITELY yes. Latins are afraid to go to Arizona now, regardless of whether they are legal or not.

    These are serious issues and do affect Latins’ perception of the Church, regardless of whether Russell Pearce is a buffoon or not.

  6. As far as I know, Sen. Pearce is not using his membership in the Church to fuel his political agenda. Yes, he is a member and he knows he has no right to use his office to speak for the Church. This bill has nothing to do with Church beliefs. It has to do with the laws that are already on the books of the federal government – California even has a law on their books that is probably even stiffer than this one in Arizona – but I sure don’t hear anyone crying over it. Arizona has the right to protect its citizens from outside threats – and illegal immigration is an “outside threat.” My mother was born in Mexico – I have relatives that live there, but I do not condone people coming over here illegally. They should do it in the proper way – with legal paperwork.

    Now – this law is not targeted at the Hispanics only – it is ANY person that is in this country ILLEGALLY. The authorities are not authorized to stop someone just because they look like they are from another country – they just have the right (and this is in our federal mandates) to question someone ONLY AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN STOPPED FOR SOME OTHER OFFENSE OF THE LAW if they feel there is a need. Law officers are not authorized to just stop someone because they are of a different skin color or have a different accent – it is only if they have broken the law by speeding or running a red light or something that warrants getting pulled over, etc. It is not to be used to “profile.” And the State has said that – now – go and read the bill and you will see how plainly it is stated as to what this law is about.

    As far as the Church being targeted for this – it is wrong – those who are using this is falling under the influence of Satan at his best. It is sad that people have misconstrued the intention of this bill into something it is not. It is wrong to target a Church and its beliefs when it is not even in the fight. If you are a member of the Church – you know what we believe. The missionary effort will not be thwarted because of this bill. The Lord will not let it be stopped – too much has to be done for the fulfilling of scripture and prophesy – so – I guess we have to become a little more creative and truly show we love everyone and get over our own prejudices and show the world we are truly Christ’s servants and we offer the true Gospel in its fullness.

    So – your comment of the suggestion that the Church hates Hispanics because of this is off the wall – you are spot on! We don’t and we must do everything we can to show we are true saints in all sense of the word.

  7. “they just have the right … to question someone … if they feel there is a need …”

    There’s the problem! “Feel” is so standardless that if I visit Arizona I will have to have proof of legal residence or citizenship on me at all times (even outdoors exercising) if I want to be sure that I can’t be detained based on an officer’s subjective conclusion.

    The problem with this law isn’t that it requires non-citizens to carry ID. It is that it in effect requires citizens to carry ID. And this from folks who adamantly oppose national ID cards!

  8. Geoff’s take: “supporters of this law, no matter how well-intentioned, completely underestimate how much the Latin community opposes this law and how discriminatory they believe it is towards them.”

    My take: Proponents of open borders completely overestimate (or overstate) the degree to which Latins in the U.S. agree with them. Arizona’s Prop. 200, for example, received 47% of the Latino vote, compared with 56% overall.

  9. Hey, they excommunicated Huebener. Maybe the Church could balance things out by excommunicating Pearce!

    We as members of the Church do not necessarily believe in obeying the laws of the land. How is it, Sis. Anderson, that you’ve completely forgotten thirty years of open defiance of the anti-polygamy laws in the 1800s? Those laws conflicted with the religious duty of the saints, and they ignored them. (And it’s awfully convenient, isn’t it, to harp about how others should obey the laws of the land, particularly when those are laws that you, as a citizen, couldn’t break yourself!)

    I hope that we would still have the moral courage to refuse to obey laws that conflict with our religious duties.

    Finally, any threat posed by “illegal immigration” is grossly overblown, whether that threat is criminal (that’s aimed at the wrong people–most undocumented migrants are simply looking to work, not to commit crimes, and the data show that they are less likely to commit crimes than US citizens) or economic (I saw Fox this morning was running a crawler about a report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform–a misnamed organization if ever there was one–that said immigrants were costing Arizona $2 billion a year. Whether that number is correct or not, they completely ignored any economic contribution made by immigrants to Arizona).

    But Pearce and his ilk have been banging on this one note for so long–the “illegals” are coming!–that people, even some percentage of our Hispanic citizens, have begun to believe it.

    And John Mansfield brings in a favorite pejorative–the “open borders crowd.” Just remember, it was “open borders” that allowed nearly all of our ancestors in.

  10. Having read the signed legislation, those who cry profiling are using tinted lenses. The problem is NOT Arizona, it is the Federal Government’s blatant disregard for law enforcement that has led to this. Why cry foul on AZ? Where were all these offended people when the law was in the public input stages? Majorities of people in the country support AZ’s attempt here. This thing was not done in a corner.

  11. I think white Mormons (and white Americans generally) are tone deaf about immigration. [There, let the carnage begin.] {By the way, I am white, Mormon, and an American.}

    The legislation may (on its face) affect all races equally, but the reality is that it is intended to drive primarily undocumented Latino residents out of Arizona. Mansfield’s statistic is interesting, though it refers to a different law. 81% of Arizona Latinos, registered to vote (that means they are U.S. citizens–AZ law only allows U.S. citizens to vote, and requires proof of citizenship to register), are opposed to the new AZ immigration law. http://latinodecisions.wordpress.com/2010/05/06/latino-voters-strongly-reject-arizona-immigration-law-1070/

    In my opinion, this white Mormon (and American) tone deafness is akin to the opposition to the Martin Luther King day celebration (which was revoked by a Mormon governor in AZ). One can claim all one wants that the opposition to the holiday was not race motivated, but it surely was perceived that way by most people, and particularly in the African American community. Similarly, one can claim SB 1070 is not race/ethnically motivated, but in its effect and in its perception (82% of Americans believe it will increase racial profiling), it sure appears that way.

  12. DavidH, thanks for pointing us to relevant polling information. The Pew and Rasmussen polls on SB 1070 didn’t provide ethnic breakdowns. I would have preferred a poll that wasn’t sponsored by the National Council of La Raza and SEIU, but I have no reason to think the poll they bought was done incorrectly.

  13. Thous shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. – Matthew 22:39
    For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. – Galatians 5:13-14
    And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God. – Mosiah 2:17

    Given what has been said so far, I felt that we needed a reminder of what our Lord would like us to do.

    My personal take on the situation is that the US is acting like the stupid farmer who closes the barn door after the horses have bolted and ran away. We are attempting (and failing) to fix the symptom, but the disease is still there. Or in other words, we are completely ignoring the reason *why* people feel they are forced to come to the US illegally. If the people in Mexico had more opportunities in their own country, there wouldn’t be such a need to risk their lives to come here.

    If you are a person who is offended by illegal immigration, then help to remove the horrible conditions in Mexico that causes it. Volunteer. Send money to a good charity. Vote for someone who will do something constructive about the situation instead of just putting a worthless or harmful political “bandage” on it to garner support.

    Legal immigration is actually a very good thing for the US, for example. And so the possibility of making it easier to become legal may need to be looked into. There are many more *productive* things that can be done to stem this problem than what is currently being done.

    A quick Google search turned up these charities. There are probably many more:

  14. Mark B, I refer to open borders as attempt for clarity, not pejorativeness. A year ago, I wrote a post trying clarify this point, and Geoff claimed then that he and most immigration boosters don’t really want full-open, unrestricted immigration. Last month, however, Geoff backed away from such moderation and expressed his support for every human who wants a visa to the U.S. receiving one, with the only limitation happenning on the demand side. So, I am referring to Geoff’s position as one held by open border proponents so that we can be clear what he is talking about. Many people who don’t like Arizona’s law have more moderate views regarding immigration than Geoff, including a large portion of the 81% of Arizona Latino voters who don’t like this law.

  15. Fair or not – the Church will be judged by the actions of its prominent members. And until there are more Harry Reids and Mo Udalls, or religion ceases to be used as a justification for political action, Mormonism will be linked with political conservatives. I am disheartened by this, but it is reality.

    Do what you must, but fair or not, there is a consequence for every action. And those consequences are not limited to the life of the one making the choice.

  16. Joyce – what law in California are you referring to? As you know – Proposition 197, which was intended to prohibit illegal immigrants from using health care, public education, and other social services, was declared unconstitutional.

    As to coming here illegally, this isn’t exactly like someone jumping the line at Disneyland. For many immigrants, coming here illegally is the ONLY way they can come. I daresay many LDS saints would cross the border illegally if it meant a better life for their family in as great a measure as it does.

    I don’t believe we shouldn’t have controls on immigration, but it certainly is a more complex issue than set out by many proponents of the Arizona law.

  17. the reality is that it is intended to drive primarily undocumented Latino residents out of Arizona

    So you mean to suggest that if the violence, drug wars, identity theft, etc. in Arizona were largely associated with the illegal immigration of non-Latino caucasians, their would be no similar feeling?

    By the way, what is with this “undocumented” tic on the left? These individuals are not lacking “documentation”. No doubt they have all sorts of documentation establishing their identity as citizens of other countries. If I visited Japan, for example, would I be “undocumented” because I lacked a Japanese passport or permanent work permit?

  18. Aaron repeats a standard complaint–the Feds haven’t been doing their job. (The Arizona supporters of the law repeatedly used this as justification for the bill, and Sen. McCain, fighting for his political life against J.D. Hayworth, who would give Pearce a run for his money in the buffoonery race, has said the same thing.) But, in reality, that complaint isn’t true.

    Since 1992, expenditures on immigration enforcement have grown from $2 billion per year to $20 billion. The number of Border Patrol agents has increased from about 3,500 to 20,000 during that same period. One can argue that the enforcement efforts have been ineffective, but you can’t say that the Federal government hasn’t done anything.

    And Congress has helped exacerbate the problem by passing draconian rules that they thought would reduce illegal immigration but have had the exact opposite effect. A 1996 law imposes 3- and 10-year-bars on re-entry on persons who leave the U.S. after being here illegally. The unintended effects are twofold:

    First, persons who before 1996 could return to their native country to obtain immigrant visas (based, for example, on their marriage to a U.S. citizen) are now unable to do so, since leaving would require them to remain out of the country for ten years. So, they stay, waiting and hoping for a change in the law that would allow them to adjust their status. But while they wait, they’re “illegal”.

    And, second, migrant workers who used to leave their families in Mexico, work in the U.S. during the summer construction and harvest seasons, and then return to Mexico in the winter, decided that the risks of being caught and barred from reentry are too high, so they bring their families to the United States and stop all the movement back and forth across the border. And so the numbers of “illegal” immigrants goes up.

  19. The polls DavidH has linked to support Geoff’s take. I knew of previous polls showing that Hispanics in the U.S. have feelings about controlling immigration that are not a lot different from the citizenry in general. DavidH’s Univision poll link, for example, says “The survey shows that Latinos are divided on the U.S.’s actions to keep immigrants from entering the country illegally; 52 percent believe the government should do more.”

    With that background, I completely underestimated how much Hispanics oppose the new Arizona law. It does seem like a mistake if it alienates so many Hispanics who want the government to do something about illegal immigration, but not this.

  20. No carnage, Joyce. I agree with you whole-heartedly, and apparently 70% of the state of Arizona does also, according to a recent Rasmussen poll. Last I checked, the population of AZ was not 70% LDS.

  21. Maybe some of the supporters here are right in saying the law doesn’t discriminate, isn’t racist and won’t lead to racial profiles. Do you get that it’s the perception here that matters? If Latin missionaries are afraid to travel to your state, if people are shutting doors because the law is associated with LDS, that’s what this post is saying. Whether it’s true or not, do you really think it won’t matter if our church is thought of as the lily-white racist church? Again, I don’t care whether it’s true or not.

    The Church has gently suggested the Utah legislature to back off of bills that are to harsh toward immigratio in the past. I’d be surprised if they didn’t feel the same toward this bill.

    And I hope those of you that are saying Pearce doesn’t represent the Church have never proudly talked about Mitt Romney being LDS. We represent our religion whether it’s fair or not. Is it right when a child molester’s religion is mentioned in the news? Maybe not, but that’s how it is and we have to deal with it.

  22. I would like to post a comment from Marc Bohn on this issue:

    The Church itself has repeatedly evidenced a preference for a moderate approach to immigration, and it is not hard to see why. The number of Spanish-language LDS wards and branches in Arizona has exploded in recent years, a majority of whose members are estimated to be undocumented. As a result, the Church actually lobbied for the explicit protection under federal law that now insulates religious organizations from prosecution for, among other things, knowingly permitting undocumented immigrants to be ministers or calling them as missionaries. In 2005, the Church got Senator Bob Bennett to sponsor this “narrow exception” to federal immigration law, and he added the provision to an agricultural spending bill that was later signed into law (prompting Rep. Tom Tancredo to lambaste it as the “Bennett” or “Mormon” Loophole). (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2005/nov/28/20051128-122403-6535r/)

    To kick off the 2008 legislative session in Utah, the Church met with GOP legislators to urge moderation in its handling of illegal immigration: “LDS Church officials ‘used the word ‘call,’ they made a call for humanity in immigration’ debates and legislation, Litvack said. ‘We should not demonize; illegal immigrants. ‘In some cases, the debate has become so ugly, I heard, so hateful and dehumanizing. Let’s bring back the element of humanity.'” (http://www.deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695245489,00.html)

    In February 2008, Elder Ballard, as a member of the Alliance for Unity, opposed the repeal of in-state tuition for undocumented college students in Utah. (http://utahamicus.blogspot.com/2008/02/alliance-for-unity-speaks-out-on-in.html)

    Also consider the Church’s response to a devastating immigration raid in Lindon, Utah, in 2008. The First Presidency dispatched Elder Marlin K. Jensen to speak alongside Catholic Bishop John C. Wester at Westminster College’s Interfaith Dialogue on Immigration. In his remarks, Elder Jensen, who it should be underscored was formally representing the First Presidency, urged Utah’s legislature to “take a step back” and approach the issue of illegal immigration with a “spirit of compassion.” He emphasized that “immigration questions are questions dealing with God’s children… I believe a more thoughtful and factual, not to mention humane approach is warranted, and urge those responsible for [the] enactment of Utah’s immigration policy to measure twice before they cut.” Elder Jensen implored others to “meet an undocumented person” and “come to know their family,” and he noted that “if there is a church that owes [a] debt to the immigrant and the principal of immigration it is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Elder Jensen also remarkably stated that “the church’s view of someone in undocumented status is akin, in a way, to a civil trespass. There is nothing inherent or wrong about that status.” (See http://www.sltrib.com/utah/ci_8258646 and http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695253048,00.html and http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,695253342,00.html)

    Let me reiterate that, the Church views undocumented status as a “civil trespass” that neither prevents one from obtaining a temple recommend, serving a mission or serving as Bishop of a ward. This was made painfully clear in April 2009 when an LDS missionary (who the Church knew was an “illegal immigrant”) was arrested as he was boarding a plane to return home from his mission. In the wake of this, Church leaders have since had other undocumented immigrants driven home rather than flown. In response to this, Elder Holland told the Salt Lake Tribune that the Church works with undocumented immigrants who want to serve missions “to have them be constructive, honorable, faithful, spiritual, religious emissaries for that period of service.” In sending undocumented immigrants on missions, Elder Holland stressed that the Church is trying to “be more precise, if we can, about how to help, how to make [a mission] the calmest, most spiritually rewarding experience for everybody.” Holland noted that the Church’s interest was to ensure that young Latter-day Saints of all backgrounds have the opportunity to enjoy the spiritual benefits of serving a mission because “a mission is so fundamental to our blessings.” (http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_12267241)

    In another recent Salt Lake Tribune article, Church spokesman Scott Trotter said “the blessings of the Church are available to anyone who qualifies for and accepts the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and went on to say “Federal law allows undocumented persons to provide volunteer church service, including missionary service, within the United States.” (http://www.sltrib.com/news/ci_8062989)

  23. “So you mean to suggest that if the violence, drug wars, identity theft, etc. in Arizona were largely associated with the illegal immigration of non-Latino caucasians, their would be no similar feeling?”

    I think Mark D’s comment accurately reflects the beliefs of many white Mormons and Americans–i.e., that Latinos who are here without immigration authorization are largely the cause of drug wars, violence and other terrible things. And that, yes indeed, the AZ law is intended to drive out “illegal” Latinos bcause of the white perception that the “illegal” Latinos (and maybe even the “legal” ones) cause everything that is wrong with the state of AZ (except for a loony legislature). The law may not be intended to drive out white European “illegal” people, because, of course, they are not the cause of evil.

    That analysis seems to me, a bottom, racially based. If I were a Latino, I would perceive that analysis as directed at me (whether “legal” or “illegal”).

    It does surprise me to learn, though, that the undocumented person who works in my neighbor’s yard or house, or his or her “illegal” child who is an honor student in high school, are the cause (“largely associated”) with the drug wars and violence. Or that the “illegal” bishop or stake president, or full time missionary called by God, are also causes. I will advise God (and the Brethren) at my next available opportunity.

  24. And I think we can all agree that the best thing about this thread is finding out Geoff is posting this stuff on Facebook. I always figured him for the guy that posts items about feeding his cow on Farmville, not the guy that fills your news feed with political links 😉

  25. John M, I don’t consider “open borders” a pejorative. I consider myself an open borders libertarian on the immigration issue. Does this mean I want the borders completely open to everybody right now, right this day? No, and if you read my comment that you linked, that is not what I wrote. What I wrote was: if you want to deal with immigration, you have to deal with the realities of supply and demand. If you increase the supply of legal visas, illegal immigrants will slow to a trickle. So, if you really want people to be here legally, support an increase in legal visas in the countries where there is a demand, ie Mexico and Central America.

  26. Jjohnsen, I’ve never gotten that whole “farmville” and “mafia wars” thing. It holds absolutely zero interest for me.

  27. DavidH, do you normally just make up positions and attribute them to those you disagree with?

    I suggested that (rightly or wrongly) if violence drug wars, identity theft, etc. were associated with large scale illegal non-Latino immigration, that public sentiment in Arizona would substantially be the same.

    And your response is to suggest that my analysis is the opposite?

  28. David H, I think you misread Mark D’s comment but I misread it the first time too, so I understand why.

    As somebody fluent in Spanish, with Latin kids, having spent most of my life traveling to Latin America, I have to agree with your larger point, which is that most white, Americans don’t “get” the Latino anger on this issue. This is a classic “empathy” issue. You can’t really understand another side’s position unless you stand in their shoes. I would encourage anybody who really wants to understand this issue to sit down and talk to a few Latins about it. Most Latin conservatives (like Lydia Chavez and Marco Rubio) are really not very happy about the AZ law. Why is this?

  29. JayS…I didn’t mention any laws from California in my comment upthread. I’m not sure what you’re referring to…sorry.

  30. Geoff, I wish I could be an open borders libertarian. I wish drivers’ licenses had nothing to do with identity or child support, for example, but were just a rubber stamp that this guy is probably safe to allow on the road; I wouldn’t mind if there were no drivers’ licenses.

    The last fifteen years have changed me though. It started at graduate school wondering when I had crossed the border and left my country. The only other American in a room of twenty makes a joke and I’m the only one who laughs; no one else understood the cultural references from our childhood. It continued in an apartment complex in West LA, where of three dozen families clustered around a central courtyard, ours was the only American family. I liked most of those people, and I liked them as a group, but I missed my own country and countrymen. As isolated episodes of my life, that would be fine, even enriching, but the feeling continues a little today, living in a county that is a quarter foreign-born and seeing how that tips the community away from having a common basis.

  31. Your family is the only America family, or your family is the only English-speaking American family? How did you happen to choose an apartment complex that has absolutely no other American citizens?

  32. John M, I am not unsympathetic to your situation, even though I may sound like it sometimes. My wife moved from Northern Colorado to Miami when we got married. It was literally like moving from one country to another. Northern Colorado (where we live now) is probably 90 percent anglo. The neighborhoods in Miami where we lived were literally 90 percent Latin, with people from Cuba, Nicaragua, Argentina, Colombia, etc, etc. The people in our English-language ward were probably 80 percent of Latin heritage, and almost all of the rest were like me, ie focused on Latin America and Spanish speakers. So my wife (a non-Spanish speaker) felt completely out of place in Miami. It was difficult for her to make friends and find people with whom she had anything in common. My wife is one of the friendliest people you could meet, and certainly one of the nicest. But she felt the people in Miami didn’t “get” her because she was from such a different culture. She certainly didn’t “get” all the references to Shakira, samba and salsa.

    We could go on an on about Latin culture and its effects on the United States, but I would summarize by saying that Hispanics bring both good and bad with them. Just like all other immigrants before them. The Irish invasion of 150 years ago was seen as a huge menace to U.S. society, and so was the Jewish invasion and the Polish invasion and the Slavik invasion and on and on.

    One of the interesting things you learn when you live in a place like Miami that the United States really does change people over time. The first generation doesn’t speak English and works (mostly) in menial labor. The second generation barely speaks Spanish and only with their parents and grandparents and goes to college. The third generation is completely Americanized. This happens again and again in Miami. I would challenge you to go into a school in central Little Havana and observe the 10-year-old kids playing on the school yard. Their parents are 100 percent Latin in Little Havana, yet the kids play in English, learn in English and are completely fluent. So this process of assimilation really does take place, and it is a wonder to watch.

  33. John Mansfield, could you be more specific in what you mean by “American” (as in “only other American” etc)? Someone who lives in America? Someone who was born in America? Someone who is an American citizen? A registered voter? A member of Daughters of the American Revolution? Someone who has “white” skin? Someone who speaks English? Someone who culturally fits the stereotypes listed here? Someone who culturally fits the stereotypes listed here? Someone who culturally fits the stereotypes listed here? Someone who thinks it’s ok for men to wear tights and powdered white wigs? (hello! the country’s culture changes over time!!) Someone who culturally fits the stereotypes listed in this video clip? Because all of these are pretty mutually exclusive, and I bet you’d feel super out of place immersed in almost all of them. Yet there’s only one that you want to boot out of the country or whatever. I believe there’s a word for that…

  34. The conversation has moved on from the original point, which is that SB1070 and the 31 LDS legislators who voted in favor of it are doing actual harm to the church. Does anyone dispute that?

    When Sonia Johnson was excommunicated, two of the charges against her were that she had tainted the church’s reputation and harmed our missionary effort. Thanks to these bozos (muchas gracias, Joyce and Brian!) the church is seen by some as a laughingstock and by others as a group of virulent racists. I think we can be absolutely certain that Pearce et. al. have done more damage to the church than Sonia Johnson ever did. LDS Republicans like to talk endlessly about the importance of individual responsibility and accountability. It is time that LDS legislators in AZ learned that irresponsible and stupid actions have consequences.

  35. Mark Brown–you’re late to the party. I suggested clear back in comment 12 that Pearce be excommunicated. 🙂

    One of the sanest voices on immigration policy among Arizona Mormons is Congressman Jeff Flake. I suspect that the loudmouths in his district, taking their cue from “Brother Pearce,” are putting a lot of pressure on him to cave to the prevailing, noxious winds.

    Maybe it’s time we move beyond talk, and contribute to his re-election!

  36. Mark B., yes, I saw that and was just lending you some moral support!

  37. Mark Brown, my guess is that the constituents who elected these people will make a decision on whether or not to replace them based on a whole host of factors. Interestingly, immigration is not as much of a hot-button issue as other things, such as the state of the economy, where you stand on tax and spending and, in 2010, where you stand on the health care bill, the Constitution and states’ rights. Sen. Pearce sounds like a buffoon (I really don’t know because I know nothing about him) but his reelection will be affected by a long list of issues, of which his stand on immigration will only be one.

  38. “When Sonia Johnson was excommunicated, two of the charges against her were that she had tainted the church’s reputation and harmed our missionary effort.”

    But, I do not think this is why she was actually given the boot.

    If we exed people for holding views like this guy, the membership numbers with the US would drop by half. A good number of the people on this thread who think he is a buffoon still agree with his policies.

  39. Sonia Johnson would never have been excommunicated for any amount of advocacy of the ERA. She was excommunicated for attacking the Church in public. If Pearce wrote articles attacking the Church about its attitude towards illegal immigration no doubt he would soon suffer the same fate.

  40. I am wondering if the Church is less likely to excommunicate people for political issues these days. I have not heard of anybody ex’ed for opposing Prop. 8 publicly, and there were plenty of people who opposed it, publicized their opposition and spoke out against the Church. And this was an issue where the Church took a clear, articulated stand, unlike immigration, where the Church has taken a very nuanced, moderate stand.

  41. I think that’s right, Geoff. At least in my lifetime, political issues haven’t been grounds for getting kicked out. Your example of prop. 8 is accurate. I will also point out that the church formally endorsed the Salt Lake City ordinance which extended various rights to gay people but many in Utah, including some vocal prop. 8 supporters in the bloggernacle, have publicly challenged the church’s position.

  42. I just came from serving a mission in Idaho. To Joyce Brindon Anderson, people are baptized even if they are illegal. that DOES NOT make one from getting baptized or not.
    They can also hold callings and go to the temple.
    Are authorities in the area emphasized this to the leaders in the areas I served and promoted helping them out and not turning them away merely because of their status.

    In the Heavens there are NO BORDERS and that was the logic when preaching the gospel.
    So your comment about been legal before getting baptized it’s totally out of hand.
    If it was a problem, I’m sure the prophet would have said something, wouldn’t he?

    Illegal’s are also allowed to serve missions, so there is another curve ball there for you.

    Prophecy found in the Book of Mormon tells that they will come to us, not us to them, that was shared in my mission.. this laws would prevent that from happening. Not that I approve of telling everyone to cross over, but there are definitely better solutions.. anyways, it will hurt the church one way or the other.

  43. Phillop,

    The President of the Church is a Utah Native. Only white people from Arizona truly understand immigration.

  44. Chris, I don’t understand the context of your response. Are you implying that, if the President of the Church was from Arizona he would preach a different doctrine?
    I’m sorry but If I understood your comment correctly, you are saying that a Prophet would lead differently were he to be from Arizona ?.
    I believe a Prophet is called of God and leads according to God’s will. Isn’t that how it works?

  45. No, I am being sarcastic. People from Arizona have long acted as though only they understand this issue. It really was not a comment about the prophet at all. Many people around here know that the policies you mentioned are the policies of the church. Joyce knows those things, but she does not sound pleased with them. I felt the same way about Prop. 8, so I can related to her and others in that way.

  46. This isn’t a reason to abandon the logic, reason, and evidence behind the Arizona law; it’s a call to reach out to Hispanics in conversations of honest love and respect while standing firm on principles, just like we tried to do with homosexuals and Proposittion 8.

  47. Huston,

    If logic, reason or evidence had been called upon, that law would never have passed.

    And, the dirty little secret principle underlying almost all of the Immigration and Nationality Act is rotten–in short, it’s “We got here before you did, and got ours, and you can’t come in.” Or, if you prefer, “We stole it from the Indians/Native Americans/First Nations before you did, so we get to keep it!”

  48. In response to “sister blah 2,” by American I meant American citizens, either naturalized or native-born. I’m not clear what the rest of her comment meant.

    jjohnson, that’s the way it was. I was working in a post-doc position at UCLA and living in university housing five miles south of campus, right next door to the Santa Monica stake center. After I moved out, the building was demolished and rebuilt. My neighbors were mostly Chinese, but also Korean, Indian, Russian, Haitian, and Jamaican. Americans lived in newer, smaller quarters to the north, while I and my neighbors thought the older place was just fine and provided room for our larger families. There were four of these older 36-unit buildings (or was it 32?), and the other three had some American families, and I wouldn’t know well the resident composition of those buildings, not seeing them daily like my neighbors.

  49. “We got here before you did, and got ours, and you can’t come in”…without our permission.

    Unfortunately that is the way national sovereignty works. I’m not familiar with any Latin American nations where the electorate feels differently, or any nation at all for that matter. Is there a country in the world that does not reserve the right to regulate immigration across its borders?

  50. I have not heard of anybody ex’ed for opposing Prop. 8 publicly, and there were plenty of people who opposed it, publicized their opposition and spoke out against the Church

    True. Sonia Johnson would not likely have been excommunicated for criticizing the Church’s adoption of a controversial political position alone. She was excommunicated for attacking patriarchal aspects of Church doctrine, practice, and culture.

    If the Church has a political position, political criticism is all part of the game. Criticism of how the Church actually implements its own doctrines in the realm beyond political debate is a significant step beyond that. Sonia Johnson was more than a little severe in that regard.

    If a member started publishing articles, treatises, or books making a big deal of the apparent hypocrisy of excommunicating tax protestors and supporting the prosecution of polygamists while looking the other way with regard to other laws, I think it is safe to see he or she would be in hot water in a hurry. It is one thing to disagree politely, it is another to make a career out of accusing the church you belong to of malfeasance or bad faith.

  51. John, that sounds fantastic. What a great opportunity for your children to learn about different cultures firsthand. I’d love a neighborhood that was a little more diverse. I bet some great restaurants popped up to feed that kind of population.

    Obey and Sustain, we sure were during the polygamy days, weren’t we? The Church has made it pretty clear they support illegal immigration. They don’t come right out and say it all the time, but you can be baptized, hold church callings and even work in the temple as an illegal immigrant. How does it make you feel to belong to a church that has a leadership that is so blatantly ignoring the law?

    In 2008 Marlin K Jensen was sent by the First Presidency to talk to the Utah Legislature.

    “An LDS Church leader on Wednesday urged Utah’s lawmakers to “take a step back” and hold a “spirit of compassion” as they consider a slate of bills aimed at cracking down on illegal immigration.
    “Immigration questions are questions dealing with God’s children,” said Elder Marlin K. Jensen of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “I believe a more thoughtful and factual, not to mention humane approach is warranted, and urge those responsible for enactment of Utah’s immigration policy to measure twice before they cut.”

    As one of three religious leaders speaking at a Interfaith Dialogue on Immigration at Westminster College, Jensen urged people to put a human face on the issue.

    “Meet an undocumented person,” he said. “Come to know their family.”

    Hmm, the Church encouraged lawmakers not to soften laws that were supposed to crack down on illegal immigrants. Does that sound familiar? I imagine there are a lot of Arizona members of the church that should be feeling the way I felt about Prop 8. It’s tough when the Church takes a stand in politics and you don’t agree, isn’t it?

  52. Yes, jjohnson, it was a fine thing for my family to experience for a few years, but a community can only take so much of that and still be a community. Consider that Russian family, or the Indian family. Coming all the way to America, shouldn’t they have American norms about them to experience? The wife in the Indian family wanted to learn American cooking, and my wife was the only neighbor who knew anything about it. There’s a difference between a neighborhood that is “a little more diverse” and one that has lost its identity and become just a holding place for people with no shared culture. People like the “bit of diversity” possiblity so much that they can’t truly imagine it an order of magnitude larger tipping over into something very different.

  53. John Mansfield, the argument you are making would apply to legal, by the book immigration as well, right?

    I don’t think that argument holds up well, given that 100 years ago the U.S. had much higher rates of immigration than it does now (10-12% compared to current 3-4% — Reference here: http://www.census.gov/statab/hist/HS-08.pdf. Even if we assume a really high rate of ILlegal immigration, it is still nowhere near 12%.) The Irish and Germans who came 100 years ago are now Americans, although it took them a generation or two, and the nativists objected then with the same buncombe we hear now: They’re not real Americans, they’re too Catholic, they breed too much, they’re naturally inclined to be lazy criminals, they’ll take our jobs. Yawn.

    I imagine our ancestors from a hundred years ago would look at us now and shake their heads at what a bunch of childish whiners we have become, throwing hissy fits over petty things like this.

  54. Here’s a contrasting experience. When I moved to Baltimore in ’93, I was part of a ward where the bishop was Korean, the Relief Society president was from Czechoslovakia, the ward mission leader from Trinidad, and the executive secretary from Ghana, plus there were a bunch of transplanted westerners like myself. Baltimore has such a strong identity that the many of us from our various origins couldn’t help but find a place within the existing civic culture.

  55. Mark Brown, yes, I’m largely talking about legal immigration. The illegal/legal distinction doesn’t interest me much; if that was all that mattered, then we’d just wave the magic legislative wand, declare every human everywhere eligible for U.S. residence whenever they like, and the problem would be solved. Magnitude is what interests me. I think there are levels of immigration that are a very good thing (perhaps our present level), and much higher levels that would swamp a nation; others seem to think this is a paranoid fantasy with no real possiblity. As you know, high immigration levels caused the U.S. to severely clamp down on immigration in 1921. Without the several decades of consolidation following that choice, maybe America would be a less desirable place to immigrate to today.

    Consider Canada. It has about a ninth the population of the United States. It welcomes many immigrants. That portion of the earth’s billions who think the U.S. would be a nice place to move to would find Canada equally enticing. If Canada opened the borders, stopped turning away those it hasn’t given permission to reside in its domain, how long would be a place that people would still want to move to? Would that point be reached before or after it ceased to be Canada?

  56. John M, just a few quick points:

    1)Did you read about my experience in Miami, which has been completely taken over by immigrants, and the assimilation that is taking place there? Although I don’t like it (mostly weather-related; I am a cold weather person), many people do, and the city has become quite livable and pleasant for what it is, certainly a nicer place to live than it was in 1960 before the immigrants began coming. So, Miami has ceased to be the Miami of old but has become a new place, which is significantly better in many ways.

    2)It is worth pointing out that the lack of immigration in the 1930s was a contributing factor to the problems associated to the Great Depression. Don’t get me wrong — the main causes of the Depression were the govt intervention by Hoover/FDR after the stock market crash, the Smoot-Hawley tariffs and the Dust Bowl. However, the lack of immigration led to less capital coming to the United States and a lower level of innovation. Immigration helps stimulate an economy.

    3)I think you need to consider again the role of immigration in spreading the Gospel worldwide. As I have written before, the Church got started in Korea because an immigrant came to the United States, got converted and returned to his homeland. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans who come to the U.S., go to a Spanish branch for a few years and return for various reasons.

    Again, this does not mean we must completely open our borders today, without rules and laws. But it does mean that we should consider an immigration policy that takes into consideration the realities of demand more than we do today. As I said on another thread, if we were to grant 10 million visas in Mexico and Central America starting in 2011, our illegal immigration problem would virtually disappear and there would be no noticable increase in the number of actual immigrants (because those come illegally would go to the local consulate rather than to the local coyote).

  57. As you know, high immigration levels caused the U.S. to severely clamp down on immigration in 1921.

    That’s one way of looking at the history. One might say, on the other hand, that a wave of xenophobia that struck after the end of the Great War led to the racist national quota system that was enacted in that year.

    I’m always puzzled by those who think that the United States should look to other nations for examples of appropriate immigration policies. What suggests that any of them have got it right?

    And, while you’re looking at others, explain why Canada or Australia, both of which have relatively liberal immigration laws, aren’t overrun by immigrants? Is it merely the long common border with Mexico that makes the U.S. different? Nobody’s swimming to Australia? Or once you’ve made the border crossing into Arizona, why keep going to Alberta?

  58. Geoff,

    1) By your description, the Miami of 50 years ago has been not merely enhanced by an infusion from another culture, but supplanted. Is this something you would desire for the nation as a whole? (The only thing I know about the Miami of 1960 is Goldfinger’s card game on the beach, so I don’t know what was wrong with it that I should be glad it’s gone.)

    2) What does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his soul?

    3) I favor immigration on a moderate scale such as we have now. Without controls, I doubt the the scale could remain moderate.

  59. Back to the original intent of the post, how can it not look bad for the church overall with the law’s drafter referring to the Articles of Faith for partial justification? Whether it’s fair or not, it’s out of our hands.

    While I support overall efforts to manage illegal immigration, I think that the law is too unconstitutional as overbroad. Going back to Joyce’s comment to review the actual language of the statute, here is the language in question that I find troubling.

    “For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person…

    How can the police have reasonable suspicion that someone is in the US illegally versus someone who is? Reasonable suspicion isn’t exactly a high standard. If I am stopped for a traffic violation, a white male with no accent, would the police have suspicion that I was here illegally? When my wife is stopped, a dark skinned Eastern European with a thick accent and often confused as Latino, would she be under reasonable suspicion? She’s a green card holder. How does a police officer determine reasonable suspicion to distinguish between myself and an immigrant who is legal and an immigrant who is undocumented? I can understand the Latino community’s concerns that this is a de facto authorization for them to be singled out. The fear is there that the police are making this determination in the first place with no guidance except their own judgment.

  60. Hans hits the nail on the head with regard to why this law is so wrong.

    What supporters of the law fail to grasp is the legal implications of the term “reasonable suspicion.” It is the LOWEST standard needed to stop and detain a person. For the police to have reasonable suspicion, they must be able to articulate specific facts that indicate a law may have been broken.

    So, supporters of the law, short of watching a person hop the fence into the states, what articulable facts will help an officer develop “reasonable suspicion” that a person is here illegally?

    Do you see why immigrants are scared? Can’t you see how this greatly increases the likelihood of racial profiling?

  61. Geoff, “Latins”? I live and work among a huge population of Hispanics and I’ve never heard them referred to as “Latins.” Latino/a, yes. Latin, no. They seem to prefer Latino/a here. You crack me up. Is this new modified designation an attempt at linguistic spin?

    I can see how Hispanics in Arizona might be uneasy about this law, but as a brown-skinned American from very recent immigrant stock, I wish I could comprehend why the larger Latino population is offended by the anti-illegal stance of so many Americans.

    Instead of expecting (almost demanding) that the larger population see things through their eyes, Hispanics who are offended by anti-illegal immigration views might benefit from considering why so many of their fellow Americans hold them in the first place. If they were honest, they’d see that contrary to popular argument, race on this issue is a red herring– an emotionally-charged political device.

    If a person can’t possibly get past political correctness or wrap his mind around the concept of sovereignty, and is naive enough to blame the church for Arizona state law, I’m not so sad if he doesn’t come running to the waters of baptism.

  62. Hans writes, ‘How does a police officer determine reasonable suspicion to distinguish between myself and an immigrant who is legal and an immigrant who is undocumented? I can understand the Latino community’s concerns that this is a de facto authorization for them to be singled out.’

    I would think the factor would be an accent, which generally indicates foreign birth.

    What I don’t understand is, why would they worry if their papers are in order? Yes, they will be singled out. But singled out for what? “Let’s see your papers.” That’s it.

    How is that worse than a driver being singled out by having a police officer say “Let’s see your license, registration and insurance”? The only reason to worry about that is if your license or registration or insurance certificate is expired or nonexistent.

  63. If a person …..is naive enough to blame the church for Arizona state law, I’m not so sad if he doesn’t come running to the waters of baptism.

    That statement is insulting and ridiculous. Regardless of our positions on this issue, it is foolish to imply that the gospel isn’t for everyone, or to wish people would just stay away.

  64. it is foolish to imply that the gospel isn’t for everyone

    Even Glenn Beck.

  65. So, supporters of the law, short of watching a person hop the fence into the states, what articulable facts will help an officer develop “reasonable suspicion” that a person is here illegally?

    Arizona HB 2162 has amended the law to state that a “lawful stop, detention or arrest” must be in the “enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, city or town or this state”.

    This is a major improvement.

  66. “Regardless of our positions on this issue, it is foolish to imply that the gospel isn’t for everyone, or to wish people would just stay away.”

    I made no such implication, nor did I wish people would stay away from the church. My comment had to do with me and my reaction to the ridiculousness of somebody blaming the church for bad Arizona laws.

  67. “By your description, the Miami of 50 years ago has been not merely enhanced by an infusion from another culture, but supplanted. Is this something you would desire for the nation as a whole?”

    Without reservation, yes.

  68. Mark D,

    While I agree it’s an improvement, I still think it is a stretch. I agree with Ilya Somin on the following:

    “To be sure, the law has been amended to require that police can only demand papers in case of a “lawful stop, detention, or arrest” of the suspect, which may be interpreted to mean that the person in question must first be stopped because of a suspicion that he is engaged in some other illegal activity. But this isn’t much protection. Police stop people all the time for minor traffic offenses, jaywalking and the like. This is particularly true in a time of recession when many local governments are stepping up enforcement of minor traffic violations in order to increase revenue. Even reasonably careful drivers and pedestrians can expect to get pulled over by police occasionally. In practice, just about everyone routinely drives above the speed limit or jaywalks. Most people engage in these or other minor violations of local and state law virtually every day. How many people usually drive under the speed limit? In practice, therefore, police armed with the authority of the Arizona law can find justification for stopping and demanding papers of almost anyone whom they think might potentially be an illegal alien; certainly anyone going anywhere in a car driving above the speed limit.”

  69. It really is shameful that a Latter-day Saint is behind this. It is especially distressing that Pearce is using the 13 Articles of Faith as a justification for this. To those who are quoting the 12th Article of Faith as a justification for this, I would say the following:

    (1) You really need to come up with an answer to the polygamy issue. Obeying, honoring and sustaining the law definitely was not a priority during the long period of time in which we as a Church flagrantly violated the law on that issue. Also, your continued reference to the 12th Article of Faith essentially conflicts with the Church’s actual stated position on illegal immigration, which has been quoted by several commenters above.

    (2) Do you have a gradation or a scale of priority in obeying, honoring and sustaining the law? Is being an illegal immigrant better or worse on your scale than speeding? Because on the Church’s scale, speeding is worse as the Church is comparing illegal immigration to civil trespass. I hope that neither you nor Pearce ever resort to speeding lest they commit an offense worse than what they are zealously campaigning against.

    Having to carry papers with you at all times is for the Soviet Union, not the United States. In order to make it seem like they care as much about illegal immigration from Europe as from Mexico, Arizona police officers will need to have a quota for asking as many “whites” as “latinos” for their papers during legal stops. So be ready to carry your passport or birth certificate with you at all times when travelling in Arizona, regardless of your ethnicity.
    If you are of latino or hispanic ethnicity, Arizona will not be a safe place for you, not only because of this law but because an environment in which the fervor for this law and support for it can flourish will also be a place where you are guilty until proven innocent and you are less than a full member of society because of your background.

    Has anyone done the work on Pearce’s geneology to make sure his ancestors came to the United States legally? If not, should there be any consequences? I assume he considers himself legal since he was born here. What, then, does he make of hispanics and latinos who are born here and are therefore American citizens and then get deported with their parents to countries where they are not citizens because they were born in the US?

    Does Pearce claim that the reason for his zealotry is jobs? Will the disappearance of illegal aliens result in more jobs? We know that the price of everything will increase — that’s a given. Or does Pearce claim that the reason for his zealotry is crime? What does he make of the studies that show only very small impacts on crime by illegal immigration?

    Could Pearce be riding a wave of populism to keep himself in power? He sees the dire headlines coming out of Mexico relating to the drug violence; he is familiar with his friends’ and neighbors’ antipathy toward Mexicans and other hispanics based on “cultural differences” (criticism of a culture of laziness and corruption — whether that is true or not) and knows that they are seen automatically as illegal aliens regardless of their immigration status; he is therefore capitalizing on this antipathy and riding the wave by making a name for himself as someone who is putting up the wall and keeping those illegals out.

    Meanwhile, he speeds on the way home and commits a “crime” that is easily as morally bad as crossing a border. But he does not hold himself accountable for that or make himself the focus of his political demagoguery.
    If he were serious about fixing the immigration problems, he would be working on a serious campaign to overhaul and rationalize the byzantine complex of laws, policies and doctrines that constitute US immigration policy in 2010.

  70. John Mansfield, America is what it is because it has taken in so many immigrants. These immigrants have changed America as they have become a part of society. What Geoff B. described in his comment above relating to Miami is actually a sociologically observable process in which groups go from an immigrant to an ethnic culture in our assimilated society. Miami is just as much America as a small town in Nebraska. Any suggestion otherwise taps into xenophobia, does it not? This is especially the case if you are saying there is some specific way “American culture” or “American society” is that could be destroyed by immigrants joining us in this culture and society and changing us in small but valuable ways to accommodate them as they are assimilated into us.

  71. “Miami is just as much America as a small town in Nebraska. Any suggestion otherwise taps into xenophobia, does it not?”

    No, it doesn’t. Was the Shanghai International Settlement just as Chinese as any rural village? Does recognizing that it wasn’t require some animosity towards the British and Americans? Changing America “in small but valuable ways” (which is part of the American culture and something I favor) is not the same as supplanting. Perhaps, you didn’t really mean that you wish to see America supplanted.

  72. John F., you indicated your desire to see the nation’s culture as a whole be supplanted.

    I believe this is what John Mansfield was asking you to elaborate on.

  73. Hans, it’s ironic that while I was an early critic of this law on these boards, I find myself having to defend it from the attacks of race baiters and hypersensitive well-meaners.

    You, via whoever you quoted, imply that society is absolutely incapable of living day-to-day life without being detained by police. I don’t buy that for a second. I think any one of us could rattle off a list of people we know (white and non-white, since we’re playing the race game) who haven’t been pulled over or otherwise detained for many years.

    This is all very simple to me- if you’re not a citizen and are here illegally, you should expect that, if caught, action will be taken. You play, you pay. So if I’m an illegal who would prefer not to have to “show papers” (another dishonest linguistic device, by the way), I’m going to make extra sure I’m not breaking any laws I might be detained for.

    Cop-o-phobics always argue that if a cop wants to pull you over, he’ll find a way to do it. Really? If I’m driving a properly registered vehicle, obeying traffic laws, and don’t have any lights out, the odds of my being pulled over are next to nothing, even if I have brown skin.

    I wish opponents of this law would focus on the real concerns here, like whether it’s in line with U.S. code and whether or not it will actually cure the ills associated (accurately or not) with illegal immigration.

  74. Tossman, my comment was that if the face of our country was changed as it assimilates immigrants from around the world, I would be happy with that. This is the Miami example. Miami is as much emblematic of what America is and should be as any other place. America is a big and diverse place. Those who immigrate here by and large assimilate politically and philosophically with the American project over a generation or two while retaining elements of their culture and infusing those elements into the whole and thus changing us completely from what we were before. And this is definitely a good thing. No culture police here, please.

  75. By the way, I often end up with odd or incomplete sentences on this blog because the text box doesn’t wrap in IE so I can’t see what I am writing for half of any given sentence. I’ve made this comment several times to M* permas so I am guessing the problem is intractable.

  76. John, I don’t think America has been supplanted in Miami. Miami looks, feels and is totally different than Northern Colorado or rural Nebraska. I wouldn’t have it any other way. That is what America is all about.

  77. People still use IE?

    “Those who immigrate here by and large assimilate politically and philosophically with the American project over a generation or two while retaining elements of their culture and infusing those elements into the whole and thus changing us completely from what we were before.”

    I agree that historically this has been the case, though I’m not so optimistic about successful assimilation in this particular case. The word “supplant,” with which you unreservedly agreed with, seems a more apt word here. It’s a question of political correctness and numbers.

    When your ancestors landed on Ellis Island, they understood the importance of assimilation- particularly in language and national pride, which promote cross-cultural cohesiveness. They were coming to be Americans, not Dutch people living in America. Back then, assimilation was the expectation, with no coddling. Today we not only don’t promote assimilation, we encourage non-assimilation. No, don’t learn English- we’ll provide you everything in Spanish! Yes, march down our streets in protest carrying Mexican flags- it’s your national pride that matters, and if a few punk kids want to wear American flag shirts on your day, we’ll suspend them!

    Supplantation is where the numbers come in to play. It would be one thing if there was a small group being bred not to assimilate, but this is a huge population. I don’t think we can honestly compare this to the immigration patterns that have made America the melting pot that it was.

  78. “I wish opponents of this law would focus on the real concerns here, like whether it’s in line with U.S. code and whether or not it will actually cure the ills associated (accurately or not) with illegal immigration.”

    And yet my original concern is that the law is unconstitutionally broad in that it would create a disparate impact on immigrants. My point is how will the police have “reasonable suspicion” that someone is in the US out of status or having entered without inspection? It would be nearly impossible for the police to determine that short of the person admitting it or seeing them do it. The implication would be that the only way the police are going to have reasonable suspicion is based on one’s skin or accent. Whether it happens or not, I can see why Latinos would not be happy about this because that gives the police a lot of wiggle room to work with. Perhaps a higher standard like probably cause would make me feel better but reasonable suspicion is so low that non-compelling excuses will be acceptable.

    Again my example of me being pulled over for speeding, an anglo white male with no accent. Will I be checked for my immigration status? Probably not. My wife, a US legal permanent resident, Eastern European but looks somewhat hispanic. She clearly has an accent. Will she be checked? I don’t know. Would the police have reasonable suspicion that she may be here illegally? Now let’s say someone who has overstayed a visa is pulled over, from the same country as my wife, looks similar. Would the police have reasonable suspicion and therefore check for immigration status?

    If they check my wife and not me under similar circumstances, it’s arguably a violation of the 14th Amendment as disparate treatment based on national origin or race.

    While I favor enforcement of immigration laws strictly, I think this particular law does it poorly and would have an effect that would be unconstitutional. If we want to do it across the board to make sure that no one is being treated differently, let’s have police check everyone, every time, and the possible targeting and “reasonable suspicion” problems go out the window, though I will not get into supremacy clause problems with that.

  79. Mark Brown: I don’t think that argument holds up well, given that 100 years ago the U.S. had much higher rates of immigration than it does now (10-12% compared to current 3-4%

    Those numbers aren’t percentages, they are rates per 1000 population of immigrants “admitted”. That does not include illegal immigrants, which would about double the recent figure.

  80. And yet my original concern is that the law is unconstitutionally broad in that it would create a disparate impact on immigrants.

    It is supposed to have a disparate impact on illegal immigrants. That is the point. If the law is unconstitutionally broad, the federal immigration laws are too, and I haven’t heard the courts overturn any of them.

  81. Mark D., the law is unconstitutionally broad in that it would create a disparate impact on all immigrants, whether naturalized, legally in status, or out of status/EWI. The point of the law may be that it is targeted at illegal immigrants but the impact will reach immigrant citizens and legal immigrants. The impact is created on people who never should be inspected in the first place. The law should be written narrower to address what it actually claims to address.

  82. To Mark’s second point, the federal government may have the plenary power to regulate immigration, which does discriminate (not in the bad way, but the dictionary sense of the word). For example, China, India, Mexico, and the Philippines are limited to a specific number of green card slots every year, while other countries are subject to a different slot. Is it discriminatory, yes, but in the sense that they are treated differently. This is constitutional because the Constitution says the government may regulate immigration numbers.

    Federal immigration regulation does not trump the 4th Amendment right from unlawful search and seizures. The impact of the law is that many people will be searched when the government has no right to search in the first place. I mean that reasonable suspicion is a very low standard for the government to show that they can search someone. I would support a probable cause standard because it requires something closer to actual proof, but my concern is for the innocent legal immigrant and/or citizen who never should be searched in the first place.

  83. Hans, No doubt you are aware of Muehler v. Mena (2005), where the Supreme Court ruled that “The officers’ questioning of Mena about her immigration status during her detention did not violate her Fourth Amendment rights.”

    The Court has repeatedly held that “mere police questioning does not constitute a seizure.” In fact, “independent reasonable suspicion” is not required either.

  84. Hans:

    Again I ask what the big deal is. Having a cop ask you for your identification is not a search and seizure, and no one, not even a citizen, who has nothing to hide, is going to mind it.

    If you were to move to China for a job, would you feel surprised, offended or violated if Chinese cops asked to see your immigration papers? Gimme a break.

    If a big, rich country allows me to come live there, and make money and support my family in comfort, I am going to be grateful, and not whine and complain when government officials ask to see my papers.

    Be serious. The only reason people oppose this is that they don’t want illegal immigrants caught and deported.

  85. Agellius

    Having a cop ask you for your identification is not a search and seizure, and no one, not even a citizen, who has nothing to hide, is going to mind it.

    I sure as heck mind, and I have nothing to hide.

    The only reason people oppose this is that they don’t want illegal immigrants caught and deported.

    This is outright insulting. Moreover, it ignores the legitimate concerns we civil libertarians have with the law. “Be serious,” and analyze the arguments critically.

  86. ‘“Be serious,” and analyze the arguments critically.’

    I understand the arguments. I find that every time I put myself in the position of a legal immigrant to a welcoming host country, I can find nothing to complain about in government officials of the host country asking me to verify my status.

    If I moved to China, and China was having a massive problem of white Americans sneaking into China illegally in order to work, and I were asked by Chinese government officials to verify my status, even if I were there legally, even if I had been there legally for decades, I would have no problem with it.

  87. This is outright insulting. Moreover, it ignores the legitimate concerns we civil libertarians have with the law

    The problem is the libertarian concerns about having to carry identification (if only to be on the safe side) is a battle largely already lost. Virtually everybody already has to have official identification to drive, to cash checks, to make purchases and so on.

    In this case, if you are a citizen, you only need to have identification when you are not driving (to be on the safe side) if you are doing something that leads a police officer to have a “reasonable suspicion” based on articulable facts and inferences that you may be in the country illegally in addition to violating at least one other law.

    So if you are walking down the street and you forgot your identification or would rather not carry it, what possible thing are you likely to do to both break another law and give a police officer reasonable suspicion that you may be in the country illegally?

    Inability to speak English after being caught jaywalking or some other minor infraction is the only thing I can think of. If you are a (non-citizen) legal permanent resident, you are required to carry identification anyway.

    If you are a non-English speaking citizen, it is probably a good idea to carry it. Other than that I don’t see how people who are in the country legally have anything new to worry about.

    I carry my identification everywhere as a matter of habit, even when walking / hiking, just so that the police will be able to identify me and notify my family if something bad happens to me. I would worry about going more than a mile from home without it. I have been in cases (ongoing forest fire) where the police would not let me return home without proof of residence. I can’t say I liked it, but that’s the way it was.

  88. The Arizona law is less severe than the National Illegal Immigrant law. The national law (affirmed by the US Supreme Court) allows stops to check immigration status without cause. In other words, your accent or activities might be sufficient to demand documentation. The Arizona law requires a valid law infraction first before immigration status cah be checked.

    Also, the Mexican law on illegal immigrants is draconian by comparison to Arizona’s. Two years in jail, and for repeat offenders 10 years in jail. Racial profiling is permitted to “maintain the culture of the country”. State and local police are required to demand proof of citizenship for any reason (no infraction of law is necessary).

    Obama and Napolitano (who haven’t read the Arizona bill) are playing politics. It is time that the Mainstream Media begin to report the story accurately.

  89. The problem is the libertarian concerns about having to carry identification (if only to be on the safe side) is a battle largely already lost. Virtually everybody already has to have official identification to drive, to cash checks, to make purchases and so on.

    Sure, but I’m not required to carry it on my person at ALL times and produce it on demand by a state official. It’s actually quite surprising how people are so willing to roll-over to a state-controlled system of monitoring an surveillance of its own citizens.

  90. PM, I agree with you. I go out of the house all the time without my ID (biking to the gym, running, doing home teaching, etc). I can’t believe anybody would want a world where we had to carry ID ALL the time, but this is exactly the situation the AZ law creates.

  91. Geoff, I agree that it creates that situation for a limited number of people: U.S. citizens who can’t speak English who violate the law while walking down the street. Otherwise the idea that the police are going to have any articulable non-race based suspicion that a otherwise law abiding citizen stopped for a pedestrian violation is in the country illegally is ridiculous.

    I am nearly forty years old and I don’t believe I have ever been stopped by the police as a pedestrian, not so much as to ask me my name. Granted I haven’t spent an extraordinary amount of time in high crime areas (apart from my mission), but still.

  92. ‘Latins’? Seriously? Maybe this is why we get the doors slammed in our face!

  93. Harold, actually, for English, “Latins” and “Hispanics” are both acceptable for people from Latin American (Latinoamerica) or Hispanoamerica. “Latino” is a Spanish word, the English translation of which is “Latin.” I hope you aren’t, like Dan Quayle, confused and thinking that I’m referring to the language people speak in “Latin America.” 🙂

  94. Thanks for the language lesson, Geoff. I can’t speak for Harold, but I happened to be aware of the distinctions. I personally have never heard Hispanics referred to as “Latins.” Ever. I certainly don’t remember them requesting to be called “Latins.” As I said earlier, it sounds like linguistic spin.

  95. Sorry, I’m late to the conversation, but very interested.

    In response to Mark D.: You may never have been stopped by the police as a pedestrian, or while in the passenger seat of a car, but that is likely because of where you live, and the color of your skin. Many African-Americans living in the US would have a different experience to report. In face, among African-Americans it is a rite of passage to have security follow you around a department store, or to be pulled over for DWB (“Driving while Black”).

    The “National ID card” for US citizens has been opposed by conservatives for years. Reagan notoriously (and sarcastically) quipped: “Why don’t we just brand the babies at birth?”. But the conservatives on the side of SB1070 don’t seem to get that this leads us down that path to everyone having to produce “papers, please” whenever requested by government officials.

  96. Rob:

    Is there any circumstance in which you think it’s appropriate to ask someone to verify his immigration status?

  97. Agellius:

    I think it would be appropriate when applying for a job, applying for welfare, registering to vote. When the individual is requesting something from the government, I would think it is appropriate. If the individual is committing a violent crime, then I think it is appropriate to arrest them, and determine status. But I would think not during a routine traffic stop. And certainly not if the only crime is “looking illegal”.

  98. I just wanted to mention that I agree here with Geoff B., because we have often taken quite different positions. I would also like to mention that even though Sen Pearce is ostensibly Mormon, my guess is that he represents, roughly himself, and only then on a bad day. He hangs out with neo-nazis. Not a mormon pasttime, and just terrifically horrible.

    It’s not any Mormon’s fault that Pearce is a Mormon, and I wish there were some way to let the general electorate know this disctinction. I am personally horrified because the finest man i have ever know (excepting my father) was reasonably high up in the church, a state senator, and spent a rather ridiculous amount of his time helping latin american immigrants, often for free. He never made much money, but is my hero, and would be yours too if you knew him. To have him classed with the Pearce fellow that has actual ties (I could hardly belive it, but they seem to perfectly true) to the neo-nazi party is more than I can bear.

    All I can say is tht just because someons says they’re a Mormon doesn’t mean they are.

  99. As another comment, and someone who has had a Swiss visa: I think the problem embedded in the Arizona law is that they will target those people you know, who can tan. One quarter of all illegal immigrants into the US are Canadians. If I hear that the Arizonal police are deporting them at the same rate as those of latino extraction, then i’ll change my mind.

    You know, of course, that Arizona belonged to Mexico for quite a while, and the person in the emergency room could come from a family that had lived in Arizona for several hundred years? I had a friend whose wife, while at least partly still Spanish, had a familhy that had lived in New Mexico for 500 years speaking Spanish. And she looks just like those people the Arizonans seem to dislike quite a lot. Should she be deported because she doesn’t have the right papers? She’s a citizen, as much as anyone in the states. As an american citizen, she doesn’t have this thick sheaf of papers ready to pull out of her wallet at the merest provocation. Not an illegal immigrant. Just not.

  100. My understanding is that they will only be asked to produce proof of citizenship if they’re arrested.

    What troubles me is I haven’t heard one Mexican-American denounce illegal immigration. None calling for Mexican immigrants to obey our laws.

    #10. Djinn, I like what you say. Is this Mormon guy the only person sponsoring the bill? What is the religion of the others? Are the Hispanics in Arizona shunning them, too?

  101. The problem annegb, is that our fourth amendment rights have eroded to the point that anything at all that can be perceived as even the smallest of crimes (such as having a barking dog, grass too high, or failing to properly signal a turn) can trigger the whole “proof of citizenship” thingie. Do you carry yours around?

  102. Mexican Immigrants obey our laws better than our own citizens. I’ll let you google it, as links send one’s comment off to purgatory.

  103. Not in my town they don’t. When I did a column on a judge a couple of years ago, I was stunned at how many illegals committed rape and assault. And they all had to have public defenders.

    I don’t like the idea of “papers” either but border states like Arizona (and here in southern Utah) have been inundated with criminals fresh out of Mexico. It makes ya mad.

    How about my question about the religion of the other supporters of the bill? Why are Mormons getting all the blame?

  104. Violent crime is down throughout the country despite the increase in immigrants. The reasons for the drop are complex. The widespread increase in gun ownership may have something to do with it. There are economists who believe there are interesting demographic trends. There are a lot more prisons being built.

    Crime is down throughout Arizona. So the perception that illegal immigrants increase crime is definitely not true.

  105. “You know, of course, that Arizona belonged to Mexico for quite a while, and the person in the emergency room could come from a family that had lived in Arizona for several hundred years?”

    Mexico claimed Arizona for three decades, from its independence in 1821 until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 (most of the territory) and the Gadsen Purchase in 1853 (the southern strip including Tucson). Prior to that, the territory was claimed by Spain. The settlement of Arizona under Spain and Mexico was not much like that of New Mexico; it was never really controlled by Spain or Mexico. To a pretty good first approximation, there are no non-Indian families that have lived in Arizona more than two hundred years, and very, very few that predate its time as U.S. territory.

  106. “Crime is down throughout Arizona. So the perception that illegal immigrants increase crime is definitely not true.”

    Geoff, I don’t know whether to laugh or bash my head against a brick wall. Assuming that you do have evidence for that rather broad claim “crime is down in AZ,” how exactly is that related to the percentage of AZ crime committed by illegals? Let’s apply the exact same logic to the inverse– if AZ crime rises, could we then conclude that illegals are committing more of it?

    @djinn, re: “Mexican Immigrants obey our laws better than our own citizens. I’ll let you google it, as links send one’s comment off to purgatory.”

    Ah, the ol’ drive-by! If you’re going to make such a bold claim, I wish you’d risk comment purgatory and post a link or two. $10 says you aren’t as worried as much about comment purgatory as you are that you really have no links to support your claim

  107. Tossman,

    I don’t know whether to laugh or bash my head against a brick wall. It’s widely known – seriously, just do a google search – that illegal immigrants are far less likely to commit crimes, once they’re here, than native-born Americans. If you don’t believe me, here are just a few links.




  108. And again I ask, what is the religion of the law’s other supporters? I bet you money no Mexican’s going to quit going to the Catholic Church because some Catholics are involved. This law is over-kill, but somebody needs to make a point to Mexicans—Mexican-Americans, illegal Mexicans, etc. that we’ve had enough.

  109. Geoff, while you are sitting down chatting with the ‘Latins’, ask them how they feel about being referred to that way. I dismissed your post when I read this term.

  110. Do any of you guys remember when I almost got banned here for saying something terribly vulgar when I got mad at somebody? Can’t remember who or why, just remember (and cringe) what I said. So low class of me.

  111. Rob writes, ‘I think it would be appropriate when applying for a job, applying for welfare, registering to vote. When the individual is requesting something from the government, I would think it is appropriate. If the individual is committing a violent crime, then I think it is appropriate to arrest them, and determine status. But I would think not during a routine traffic stop. And certainly not if the only crime is “looking illegal”.’

    I don’t think I necessarily disagree.

  112. Mark Brown, I appreciate the DoJ stats and don’t dispute them, but I take issue with the framework of your reference. These numbers are linked to by an opinion piece in order to support the author’s biased argument. The author then supports his claim about “immigrants” being more law-abiding than native-born Americans by citing another opinion piece he wrote last year. Now maybe that piece uses actual numbers too, but forgive me if I take this whole argument with a few pinches of salt.

    Oh, and on that point about immigrants being so law abiding- I’ll go ahead and do again what I’ve done a thousand times here already, and call out the dishonesty of equating illegal aliens to immigrants in general. Stop doing it.

  113. Tossman, you said you don’t dispute the numbers themselves. Do you have any argument to make then?

    You call the commentator biased, which is fine, I guess, but so are we all, and we can go back and forth forever with our biases. The only way out is to examine whatever facts and numbers are available. Until you or somebody else can present a credible explanation for the argument I linked, I think we need to accept it.

    As far as equating illegal immigrants with legal ones, the author addresses that in his article and concludes that at least with regard to criminality, there is no substantial difference. That is why he considers them both together as one group.

  114. Thank you for the link, however my point is simply that it is more respectful to refer to people in the manner they prefer to be addressed. I believe insisting on using this term shows a very clear cultural disconnect.

  115. I also want to say that I think it is hilariously funny for LDS people to get on their high horses about obeying the law. I will pay $1000.00 cash money to the first person who can show me that Brigham Young and the pioneers complied with Mexican laws when they entered the great basin. With that in our background, as well as the lawbreaking we did with the Edmunds-Tucker act, as well as the casual way our missionary department now treats the immigration and visa laws of other countries, it does not behoove us to get smug about the 12th article of faith.

  116. I also think it is hilarious when people think they are scoring points with Geoff’s use of Latin instead of Latino.

    Geoff knows more about Latins and Latinos than the rest of us combined. He is too polite to point that out, but I’m not.

  117. Tossman,

    My links are in comment purgatory, but google these terms:

    “reuters study immigrants less california crime”

    There’s one study for you, from an unbiased, non-partisan source.

    Then google this:

    “reason el paso miracle”

    That article mentions yet another unbiased study.

    Seriously, google is your friend. It’s widely known that illegal immigrants, once they’re here, are far less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans.

  118. Mark Brown, Dan Quayle and I are home boys!!!

    Sometimes the best thing to do with people who want to score petty points is to ignore them.

  119. PM, like Lazarus, your links have returned from the dead. This post has taken some interesting turns. Sorry I’ve been absent, but I’ve been busy hanging around with some “Latins” and haven’t had much computer time.

  120. Agellius:

    My main objection to this law (SB1070) is not asking immigrants to carry proof of legal status with them… that is already IN the law. My main objections are:

    1) Harassing US citizens who may “look illegal” to the cops. US citizens are not required to carry proof of legal residence wherever they go
    2) requiring local law enforcement to do another job, which will likely interfere with the performance of the jobs they already have
    3) requiring local law enforcement to develop a “reasonable suspicion” of who is illegal while not doing racial profiling… not sure exactly how they’re going to do that
    4) The lack of a spirit of compassion in the whole immigration debate, which goes against Church counsel
    5) The perception among some Latinos (and some Anglos) that LDS doctrine is somehow fueling this anti-immigrant trend… which I think is a total misreading of our “sustain the law” doctrine.

  121. Mark D, I want to address your comment way up there (number 103). You say:

    “Otherwise the idea that the police are going to have any articulable non-race based suspicion that a otherwise law abiding citizen stopped for a pedestrian violation is in the country illegally is ridiculous.”

    Alright, let’s see what happens after the AZ law goes into force. Latins (THAT WORD AGAIN!!!!!) get stopped. One of them files a civil rights complaint because he was stopped and questioned by police and then detained because he didn’t have ID. A judge (AZ is in the 9th district, I remind you) decides that ALL people must be treated the same and all people must carry ID if a Hispanic guy has to carry ID. Can you see how the AZ law quickly descends into all of us having to carry ID all the time? It is not paranoid at all to have civil libertarian concerns about this law.

    Our loss of personal freedom will not come from one big step. It will be incremental, but with laws like this 10-20 years from now your freedom will be considerably less than it is now.

  122. Two problems with this law:

    (1) It means that everyone in Arizona, whether you look hispanic or not, will need to carry proof of citizenship with you at all times. This is because Arizona police will need to pretend they care as much about illegal immigration from Canada or Europe as they do from Mexico or Central and Latin America (which is probably not the case). Matt Evans above is happy to carry proof of citizenship with him at all times. In my opinion, having to carry your “documents” with you at all times is a sign of tyranny, nationalism and even totalitarianism.

    (2) Pearce is using the Church’s 13 Articles of Faith, specifically the 12th Article of Faith, to support and justify his zealotry on this issue. This is problematic on several levels:
    a. This smacks of priestcraft as Pearce is attempting to use religious doctrine to bolster his political profile among his supporters and people who are similarly disposed toward illegal immigrants from Mexico or Central and Latin America: “priestcrafts are that men preach and set themselves up for a light unto the world, that they may get gain and praise of the world; but they seek not the welfare of Zion” (2 Nephi 26:29).
    b. Following from (a), given the Church’s official stance on the spiritual status of illegal immigrants, namely that the fact that they are living and working in the United States illegally does not bar them from righteously exercising their priesthood, holding temple recommends and serving in leadership callings on all levels, we can see that Pearce’s reliance on the 12th Article of Faith is misplaced and irrelevant to this issue. True concern for the welfare of Zion in this instance would preclude using the 12th Article of Faith to justify this zealotry, especially since the Church does not consider immigration status relevant for purpose of worthiness in any sense in the Church.
    c. Reference to the 12th Article of Faith as a trump card or a guiding principle on this issue reveals a shocking lack of awareness by Pearce and perhaps some of his followers of Mormon History. Mark Brown points out a couple of instances in which the 12th Article of Faith was not deemed violated in the face of blatant disregard for laws of the land. The shining example is our people’s continued and insistent practice of polygamy in the face of straightforward and overwhelming legal prohibitions against it. Church leaders in that situation were hailed as heros for flagrant violation of the law of the land and were supported by our people in hiding from the officers of the law charged to enforce the binding law of the land.

    The Church will have two major problems with Pearce going forward:

    1. Pearce’s stance and rhetoric on this topic in particular cement the stereotype that people outside of our faith have of us as an extremely hard-heartened and judgmental people, disinclined toward charity and goodwill. This will be the case because of his attempts to use actual LDS religious teachings rather than secular argumentation for his nationalistic agendas. To the extent that he uses or acquiesces in the use of racial terminology or ethnic or cultural stereotyping to buttress his views, this will further cast the Church in a negative light, especially to the extent that his heavily Mormon constituency support him in his bellicose rhetoric.

    2. Reports have surfaced that Pearce maintains associations with neo-Nazi activists. Although this cannot be ascribed to the Church and the Church does not endorse or support Pearce, his campaign against undocumented immigrants or the neo-Nazis who support Pearce, this will not be a distinction that the casual observer in Arizona and elsewhere, particularly among the Mexican and Latin American communities in the US and abroad, will be likely to entertain.

    As to viable solutions to the problems and difficulties of illegal immigration or undocumented immigrants, Latter-day Saints who have a problem with illegal immigration or illegal immigrants would be better served making a fulll fledged effort to reform federal immigration laws to replace the current unworkable, labyrinthine and grossly unfair complex of immigration laws and policies that are currently in place in the United States. This would not only be more productive than lending support to such laws as this but would also reveal a greater awareness of our own history as a Church of how we entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847 as illegal migrants to Mexico and in flagrant violation of the laws of the land simply took possession of it, claiming it as our own. Also, on an individual level, many of us are perhaps descendants of undocumented immigrants who might very well have come to the United States illegally, including perhaps Pearce’s own ancestors. Working to reform federal immigration laws to a workable and reasonable state would show an awareness of these aspects of our collective and individual histories as members of the Church. As to what should be the basis and substance of such reform from an LDS perspective, I defer to frequent Bloggernacle commenter Mark Butler who is an expert in this field and whose views and judgment on these matters I have come to trust implicitly from reading his comments on this topic over the years.

  123. John F, I would hesitate to say that Pearce has neo-Nazi associations without any actual proof. Is there proof?

  124. Geoff, if you have a source that suggests that Pearce is not associated with former Mesa City Council candidate
    J.T. Ready, I’d be glad to see it.

    Also, forgot to mention that with his rhetoric about banning “anchor babies” (by which reference is made to children born in the United States who are US Citizens by operation of the Constitution), Pearce is doing the very un-Mormon thing of holding children accountable for the infractions of their parents. If Pearce had his way, a child born in the United States of America would not automatically be a citizen. That is in our very fabric as a nation after so much time of it being in effect. I am grateful that is an element of the US approach to citizenship.

  125. John F, I have no idea what you’re talking about regarding JT Ready. You could be right — I was just asking for some proof. I agree with your point about his position on anchor babies.

  126. OK, returning hopefully for the last time to the whole “Latin” vs. “Latino” vs. “Hispanic” debate to describe people from Latin America.

    I was a reporter for the Miami Herald in the late 1980s. In those days Miami was about 60 percent Hispanic (now it’s 75 percent or so Hispanic) and it was required for reporters to know the correct style for referring to people from Latin America. The Miami Herald style (and AP style) was “Latin” or “Hispanic.” “Latino” was only correct if it was in a quotation from somebody speaking English.

    I tried to look up the current AP style on the internet, but could not find it (the AP sells the AP style book so does not offer it free on-line). However, I found this article regarding NY Times style:


    So, it would appear that the NY Times style book (which is different than the AP style book, although they agree on many things) currently uses Latino, not Latin. So, it is possible that I am behind the times, thus Harold Lee and Tossman (probably younger than my near five decades) may be correct that the new, hip way or referring to “Latins” is “Latinos.” So, once again my age has betrayed me.

    In my defense, I would like to point out that plenty of groups, including groups that market to “Latinos,” still refer to them as “Latins.”


  127. Geoff, I really don’t think you have to defend yourself. Let’s put it this way, I trust the experience and perspective of a former Miama Herald reporter over a blog commenter and an anonymous commenter anytime on the preferred reference to our brothers and sisters from Latin America.

  128. I’d just like to add a word of caution on the whole “so-and-so is a friend of this guy so we should denounce him” situation. I have nothing, absolutely nothing, invested in Pearce. From what I’ve heard from people I respect, he is a nut case. But I would like to point out, in the interest of simple fairness, that just because you are the friend of a neo-Nazi does not mean that you are a neo-Nazi yourself or share such beliefs.

    I have many conservative friends who claim that because Obama is friends with Bill Ayres and Father Flieger and Jeremiah Wright he shares their crazy views. Actually, no. The country was right in actually examining the president’s views and coming to the conclusion that he is a pretty mainstream liberal. I personally oppose most of Obama’s policies, but I don’t support the politics of personal destruction that tries to taint him because of his personal associations.

    We should apply the same thing to Pearce. If somebody can show me that Pearce himself has endorsed “white power” or similar policies, I would be the first to denounce him. His position on anchor babies is alarming and unconstitutional (by the way). But I think we should focus on what he actual says and does, not his associations (unless we can prove that his associations are driving his policies).

  129. Again I ask, what is the religion of the bill’s other supporters in Arizona’s legislature? Anybody boycotting their churches?

  130. Anne, personally I don’t see that as relevant. Pearce is the one driving this campaign and he is openly relying on the 12th Article of Faith as support among his Mormon constituency.

  131. Geoff (#48): Very well said, I agree. Unless there is proof, we should not speculate on his *policies*.

    On the other hand these associations do say a lot about his *character*, or lack thereof. Anyone who has even a small affiliation with these hate-filled groups should be strongly repudiated. A bright, clear light should be shown on their activities so that everyone can see how vile and offensive these neo-nazis and all “white power” groups really are.

    And anyone who professes to be a true follower of Christ (no matter which religion) should have absolutely nothing to do with these repulsive blasphemers, should denounce them as vehemently as possible and have nothing whatsoever to do with them. The neo-nazis’ beliefs have absolutely no connection or relationship in any shape or form in comparison with Christ’s teachings of love and charity for others. They are at polar opposites from each other.

    And lastly, since Pearce is associated with these horrible people (by attending a neo-nazi event as shown in the video), then every faithful member of our church should publicly rebuke him for his actions. To do otherwise brings the stain of “white power” into our church. It doesn’t matter that our leaders teach the opposite of what the neo-nazis believe, and we know for ourselves that it is not taught in Sunday School. We still invite the impression from others that we are just as implicit in bigotry and race-hatred as the neo-nazis if we do not stand against one of our own when he is so terribly wrong. Just because he goes to our church does not make him someone worth our respect. Just like everyone else, he must deserve that respect by doing something more than just showing up on Sunday.

  132. Pearce sent an email to about 100 followers from the “National Alliance,” a neo-nazi journal.

    According to the Phoenix Business Journal, “Pearce apologized for the email, telling other Phoenix area media outlets it was mistake and he did not read the entire article before sending it to supporters.

    The Mesa Republican is a leading advocate of get-tough policies on immigration.

    Pearce could not be reached for comment on the matter.

    The article Pearce sent out and then apologized for talks about Jewish control of the news media and the media’s bias against whites, while favoring minorities and Israel.”

    The guy hangs out with neo-nazis and and sends around neo-nazi literature. Isn’t this a bit close for comfort?

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