Nearly 20 activists showed up for two hours at Washington Square in downtown Salt Lake City on June 8th, 2009 for the Utah Minuteman Project's public protest of Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank's refusal to participate in a particular provision of the immigration omnibus bill SB81. The provision in question allows police agencies to voluntarily cross-deputize police officers to serve as immigration officials. Media stories in the Deseret News, the Salt Lake Tribune, and KSL Channel 5.
The bill was passed in the Utah Legislature's 2008 general session and goes into effect July 1st, 2009. On April 8th, Chief Burbank announced his blunt refusal to adopt that portion of the law, saying the voluntary portion of SB81 promotes racial profiling and drives a wedge between officers and the community they serve. And this set off many Utahns, including Eli Cawley, who heads up the Utah Minuteman Project.
"In their arrogance and wrong-headed insistence on pandering to illegal aliens at the expense of the rule of law and the safety of our people, Becker and Burbank have chosen, by their refusal to enforce SB81, to protect lawbreakers instead of citizens," Cawley said in a news release.
Although a number of other city police chiefs and the Utah Highway Patrol also intend to opt out the cross-deputization provision of SB81, Cawley said his group has chosen to criticize Salt Lake City because of its symbolism. "It's the center of our state, the capital city that was founded by Mormons when they came here," Cawley said. "But don't think that other cities are going to get off. We may not be a million-man organization, but we'll use what resources we have. Park City is almost as bad."
Cawley insists his group's movement is not racially motivated, and Cawley himself is married to a Vietnamese woman, but during the two-hour gathering, some protesters shouted at Latino construction workers at the Matheson Court House, telling them to go back to their home countries. Cawley told police to go arrest the workers because they were not legal. Police officers declined. Cawley used that incident as an example of how lax immigration enforcement creates the problem. KSL news video embedded below:
In response, Chief Burbank sent a statement to KSL explaining three reasons why he has not changed his mind on SB81:
(1). He is concerned implementation of the bill will scare people away from contact with the police. He feels that everyone is entitled equal access to law enforcement and should have peace of mind in doing so.
(2). He says he wants to reassure the general public that they can approach the police as necessary without fear of reprisal, including being identified as illegal and possibly deported.
(3). He says SB 81 implies a form of racial profiling that is in sharp contrast to the basic core values of the police department.
And Mayor Ralph Becker, backing up his police chief, says such protests will not change his stance on having Salt Lake City police officers do the work of immigration agents. "Our job is to protect the residents of our city and the federal immigration policy is severely broken," he said from Austria. "Cross-training would add a tremendous burden on our police, who are not trained to enforce federal policy." The problem here is that Mayor Becker has neither publicly acknowledged that Salt Lake has an illegal alien problem, nor has he waged a public campaign to get the Feds to fix their immigration policy. Thus Becker is viewed as a facilitator of illegal immigration.
Salt Lake City and Provo are the two Utah cities on OJJPAC's list of sanctuary cities for illegals. OJJPAC lists cities with both active and passive sanctuary policies. An active policy means police are forbidden to interact with Federal immigration authorities, while a passive policy merely means police are not directed to interact with the Feds, although they can do so on their own initiative. Chief Burbank's refusal to permit cross-deputization definitely qualifies Salt Lake as an ACTIVE sanctuary city.
In his latest essay posted by ALIPAC, Frosty Wooldridge warns us about President Barack Obama's comprehensive immigration reform plan. Obama recently said that "comprehensive immigration legislation, including a plan to make legal status (path to citizenship) possible for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, would be a priority in his first year in office." The political payoff could be spectacular. If Obama succeeds in pushing through an amnesty for 12-20 million illegal aliens, he will achieve permanent one-party (Democrat) control of the United States government --- as a newly legalized, mostly poor and minimally-educated population will partake heavily of government services, affirmative action, and array of other federal and state interventions. They will vote overwhelmingly Democratic.
His entire essay is pretty sobering.