Monday, June 7, 2010

Utah State Representative Stephen Sandstrom Attends Phoenix Rising Rally To Get Tips On Avoiding Profiling In Proposed Immigration Bill

After Arizona passed SB 1070, Utah State Representative Stephen Sandstrom expressed his interest in crafting similar legislation in Utah. However, he's proceeded slowly, preferring to prevent the national backlash directed against Arizona from swamping Utah as well.

As part of his research, Rep. Sandstrom decided to attend the June 5th Phoenix Rising Rally in support of Arizona's new law. Traveling there at his own expense, he gave a brief five-minute speech. But more importantly, he talked to two of the primary players, Senator Russell Pearce (R-Mesa) and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Attempts by ALIPAC false-flag operative William Gheen to sabotage the rally by pulling ALIPAC support at the last minute were partially successful; according to the Arizona Republic, only 2,000 of the expected 10,000 people showed up at the rally, although 107-degree temperatures may have also dampened enthusiasm. The four primary speakers at the rally were former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who considers SB 1070 "the best damn bill that's been passed in the United States of America" because of the hysteria of its opponents; Joe Arpaio, who enthusiastically proclaimed his readiness to begin enforcing the bill on July 29th and who said he would NOT turn over any illegal immigrants arrested to ICE; Senator Russell Pearce, the architect of SB 1070; and rally organizer Daniel Smeriglio, who is also the head of the Pennsylvania-based Voice of the People USA.

More detailed accounts of the Phoenix Rally can be found in the New American, the Tucson Citizen, KNXV Channel 15 (with video), and CBS News.

The Salt Lake Tribune article highlights the critical attributes of Sandstrom's proposed law:

-- Producing a driving privilege card during a traffic stop would be enough to establish probable cause to check immigration status.
-- Sandstrom is uncertain whether being unable to speak English is enough probable cause under federal visa standards.
-- Exemption from being questioned about immigration status for anyone who is a material witness to a crime.
-- Exemption from deportation if someone who is a material witness to a crime is discovered to be in the country without documentation.

Sandstrom wants higher standards in his bill that law enforcement must follow to inquire about immigration status. Arizona's law requires what Sandstrom calls the "vague" standard of reasonable suspicion, while Sandstrom is leaning toward Utah's undrafted version to require probable cause. "My biggest concern is that people will think this bill will cause racial profiling. I want to make sure people realize this is not targeted at a certain group of people," Sandstrom said. Sandstrom also plans to meet with Gov. Gary Herbert at the end of the month to discuss his version of the bill. Herbert has said he expects an immigration bill to be presented during next year's legislative session, but Sandstrom says the governor has not endorsed his bill.

Both Rep. Sandstrom and Arizona Senator Pearce are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The significance of this is the fact that one of the most vocal opponents of Sandstrom's efforts in Utah, Proyecto Latino de Utah director Tony Yapias, is also a member of the LDS Church. This exposes a political divide within the LDS community on how to deal with illegals. Yapias has launched a letter-writing campaign to LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson, urging him to spell out the faith's position on immigration law. In addition, Latinos plan to wear ribbons signifying unity in their quest to have President Monson speak up unambiguously on what they see as a moral issue. Hopefully they won't be stupid enough to wear such ribbons to church; they'd be openly inviting retaliation. But it's pretty obvious that Yapias and his ilk want the Church leadership to come out in support of amnesty for illegal immigrants. The Church has steadfastly refused to take an official position on either immigration or SB 1070, and that's the way it should remain.

As a member of the LDS Church, Yapias should know that any letter-writing campaign will have no effect upon the Church leadership. The Church is run by revelation, not public opinion polls.

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