HB116 – Will it divide or unite?

HB116 – Will it divide or unite?

After watching the overwhelming division of the Republican Party on HB 116, I wondered if this division can make our party stronger?  I believe the answer is yes.  While I voted my conscience on the repeal of HB116, it does not mean that I do not understand or sympathize with the other side.  In fact, I probably land more on the side of those that support HB 116 than most would think.

I think the vote would have come out much differently had delegates stayed to do their duty.  I watched most of my county leave immediately following the elections of the party officers, including some of the county leadership.  That was unfortunate.  I do not know which side of the issue they fell on, but their voice was unheard.


What did the Repeal of HB116 resolution do?  Actually, nothing.  Having the delegates stand and say they want something doesn’t mean it will actually happen.  However, it does put pressure on our legislators to do something, but in the end, they can do what they want.  But, they have heard the voice of the delegates.  While some delegates were adamant about the repeal, others, like myself, felt this was not something that really should have taken up so much of our energy.  This is just one issue, although I believed the reason I chose to repeal was valid.  Those who act like anyone that voted for this legislation should be thrown out, need to calm down.  You paint yourselves as an angry mob instead of acting like statesmen.  I have deliberately held my tongue on this issue because the frenzy that surrounded it seemed so out-of-place.

The 10th Amendment:  Clearly our state must put forward legislation that sends a strong message to our federal government.  We do need to take matters into our own hands.  We must continue to fight the battle for state sovereignty.  But in order to make these battles work, we need to be able to win.

Constitutional?  Yes and no.  Yes it’s Constitutional when you look at the original intent of the Constitution, but under current views, it will not be held as constitutional because the Federal government has stripped away state sovereignty in today’s America.  It is my hope that this extra pressure from the delegates will push the legislature to make the necessary changes to HB116 to bring it into full compliance, next session.   A letter sent to delegates by The Salt Lake Chamber stated,  “We may not be able to achieve a federal waiver.  It may be deemed unconstitutional.  The penalty for being here illegally and for businesses that break the law may not be high enough.”   One person, in public office in my county, that is highly in favor of HB116, testified before the legislature that HB116 was unconstitutional.  What we are trying to achieve with this legislation is probably a good thing in theory, however, the ramifications of passing laws that will be deemed unconstitutional will eventually come back and haunt us.  Yes, almost all of the Republican party wants to see immigration laws change.  The Republican party wants to bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows.  The Republican party wants to follow the rule of law.  On this we agree.  Therefore, we must find a way to construct a bill, or amend the current legislation to bring this bill into compliance.

Why is Constitutionality such a sticking point?  I’ve heard the argument that a message bill is fine if it fits your agenda.  While this is a message bill, what exactly is the message?  After many, like Mike Lee, have said that a waiver will most likely not be granted by the federal government, and the bill does not go into effect, there are many that claim it sends a message to Washington.  Maybe the message we are sending is the wrong one.  Let’s take the immigration issue out of the equation for a moment, and talk about the theory.  What happens when a state (even ours) puts forward a bill that we highly disagree would be good for our state or any other state for that matter.  What happens when we discover that the highly unprincipled idea is also unconstitutional?  Are we going to scream and cry and raise our voices and decry, “This is unconstitutional?”  If we do not ask for repeal, or correction to HB 116, then we will become hypocrites, when the situation is something with which we disagree.  We will have set a very dangerous precedent.

We all know our Federal government is completely failing in regard to immigration.  The doors are not open wide enough for legal immigrants, the red-tape is far to cumbersome, and the delays are devastating to renewal of visas creating illegal status.  I disagree with those that claim HB116 creates cheap labor.  I disagree with many of my colleagues that claim HB116 is amnesty.  The point is, if this bill is unconstitutional and goes against our party platform, we as Republicans have no business even bringing it to the table until it complies.  If, we as states, want to bring the idea of immigration back to the states, then we must amend the Constitution, or get a coalition of states to join us in repealing the federal government’s authority on immigration. 


Here’s what we can do in the mean time. 


Rights vs. Entitlements:  We can look at legislation that cuts any and all entitlements to non-citizens.  This is the root of the problem.  This is what has most people up in arms.  We can call on private citizens, churches, and non-profit organizations to help pick-up to the slack for any individuals truly needing help, while they either begin the process of becoming a citizen or help them return to their own countries.  We can remember that all people on this earth are here as God’s children, and deserve to be treated that way.  We can remember that rights come from God, not our government.  Whether people are here legally or not, they still have rights.  They do not have rights to entitlements, but they are still people with human rights. 


English vs. anything else:  We need to call upon citizens, and non-profit organizations to teach English to immigrants and their children before they enter grade school, at low or no cost.  This helps the schools, this helps employment, and this helps continue with the great melting-pot of our nation.  No one is asking people to give up their culture, but we are asking that you do what you can to learn ours. 


American vs. hyphenated-American:  We need to teach immigrants the beauty of being an American.  Help individuals understand our history, our diversity, our language, and how American opportunities will help them.  multiculturalism doesn’t work.  American Exceptionalism does.  Teach people how to be owners (Georgics) again.


Enforce current laws vs. creating new ones:  Enforce current laws on the books regarding identity theft, and other crimes.  We do not need to have a separate set of rules for illegal immigrants.  Laws should be enforced when an individual aggresses against another regardless of their status.  If ICE will pick them up, that is their decision.  If ICE will not get involved, prosecute them just as you would anyone else.


Free Market Labor vs. Minimum Wage Laws:  Work to repeal minimum wage laws.  This may not seem like a good argument for the “cheap labor” crowd, but labor is a mans’ to give at whatever price he or she deems is acceptable.  This is your property.  I am not told what price I must sell my home.  But I get a price the market will bear.  In the same token, I should not be told at what price I should sell my labor.  I will get the price the market will bear.  The artificial wage control by the federal government is a crime on it’s own.  Everyone has different needs.  Prices would probably go down, and most people would have their basic needs met even if wages dropped in the process.  We would not need government subsidies for the dairy industry and other agriculture industries if men set their own wage.

People vs. status:  Let’s all remember that people are at the very heart of this discussion.  Everyone has dreams, hopes, and aspirations.  Let’s make it easier to be here, easier to be an American, and welcome immigrants with open arms.  Remember our individual rights come from God, not government, and so they belong to all people, from all nations.  We are just lucky enough to live in a country where we still enjoy some of those individual rights.

Utah Resident vs. U.S. Citizens:  This one is fuzzy to me, because I don’t hold a degree in Constitutional Law, but I have heard it said you can be a resident of the sovereign state of Utah, and be considered a foreign national and not a U.S. Citizen, sometimes referred to as a Permanent Resident Alien.  If that is the case, then let’s use current law on the books to create that status for people who live here already, but have not aggressed beyond infractions.  We all know “round ‘em up and ship ‘em out” is not only a horrible idea, but a very unpractical (and impossible) one as well.  We must find a way to comply with our current Constitution.   They can pay taxes, but being a documented resident of Utah does not necessarily give them rights to vote, if they are only a resident alien.  But they will be documented and legally here.  I could be way off, but, I hope this at least gets the discussion going.


TIME TO UNITE: This bill, while seemingly able to divide the party can actually create great strength in the party as we pull together to fix or repeal bad legislation and thoughtfully put forward legislation that cannot be argued by the Democrats as unconstitutional.  Because the day will come when the other side will pull some huge shenanigans and if we are on the wrong side on this argument, we will have no ability to cry “unconstitutional” to their legislation.  Republicans have always stood for their constitution and their platform.  This is an inconvenient time, but it is the right thing to do.  Being the party that leads on principle is not easy, but this is the party that can do it.  To paraphrase the key-note speaker at Saturday’s convention, when you find a rat in a bottle of Coke, it sours you from buying Coke for a long time.  As Republicans, we need to stick to our platform and principles, so our Republican base is not soured on future Republicans.

19 thoughts on “HB116 – Will it divide or unite?

  1. You said “Then the shadowy figures are probably somehow related to The Federal Reserve”.

    I say ‘right on’…the federal reserve and US Treasury are populated by the masters of the universe (aka Wall Street bankers) in a revolving door arrangement that has been going on for decades.

    This country will never be ‘of, by and for the people’ until this incestuous relationship is ended once and for all.

    Everything else is a distraction.


  2. Pete, I couldn’t comment under your last comment, because my blog only allows 5 deep, but I wanted to tell you that you hit the nail on the head. It really isn’t R vs D. It’s right vs. wrong. There are great ideas and thoughts that flow from both parties. I believe that when we begin to see each other as Americans instead of just parties, everyone wins. I believe that it is Washington DC that continues to polarize the people against themselves, and then they keep winning, by taking our hard earned labor, and re-distributing it to others.

    You are right on the wars. And now, our current President has lead us into one in Lybia. Where is the outrage from the Democrats? I hope it’s there. I am disgusted that this undeclared war is continuing.

    We must work together as Americans to bring our nation back to the great nation that it is. As far as the “unfettered” capitalist movement, I probably disagree with you here. I believe that the free-market has been taken over by government. (And I’m not just blaming Democrats). Our businesses have gotten in bed with government, and that makes for a nasty system. That isn’t really capitalism, that’s corporatism or capital cronyism


    • I think it works in the favor of the rich and powerful (who really run this country) to keep the rest of us divided against ourselves with wedge issues.

      I don’t know how ‘take back’ our country from the military-industrial complex, wall street, the Washington beltway establishment, the career politicians who care more about getting re-elected than they care about doing what is best for the country (hellooooo, Sen. Hatch….)

      I think we can agree there are no easy answers, but fighting among ourselves over things that really don’t matter in the bigger picture isn’t going t solve anything. Neither is blindly following one party or the other off a cliff.


      • Then we agree on quite a bit. I do not follow blindly. I am a Republican. I make no appologies about that. However, I do not just “agree” with Republicans because they are Republicans. (helloooooo, Sen. Hatch….)

        We both have the same enemy list. That’s a pretty good start. I don’t mind people being rich, but being “powerful” is never good. We created this country to give the people the power by limiting the power of the government. That isn’t the way it is anymore.


  3. Wow, churches and non-profits are your solution to everything. And I think you need to re-take that Constitutional law class, because I don’t think you get it.


    • That’s a pretty vague response. I will quote for you Thomas Jefferson who said, “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent their government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.”


  4. Your logic is essentially this: (1) yes, the bill is Constitutional; (2) but the current supreme court would not agree with me; (3) since they wouldn’t agree, let’s call it unconstitutional; (4) if we push something that’s unconstitutional, we’ll lose our right to scream “UNCONSTITUTIONAL!” the next time the Democrats do something we don’t like. Oh, and it’s also against the Republican platform.

    This article seems like a well-intentioned piece, but it misses the point. Let’s focus more on liberty and worry less about the Republican party platform and the latest interpretation of the Constitution. In a free country, we should have the right to hire whoever we want to hire at whatever wage we choose. Whether it unites or divides the Republican party is irrelevant.


    • There is a lot more than just “immigration” that would be found unconsitutional about the bill. There are raids on social security, and much more. If I could get my America back to a Constitutional Republic as it was intended, we wouldn’t really be having this argument in the first place, because our federal government would be doing it’s job on immigration. And, Brandon, you are right, it might be irrelevant if it divides or unites to most liberty-loving people. But I would hate to see it divide the Republican Party in Utah and hand over our current seats to Democrats that actually want nothing to do with liberty at all. Libertarians don’t like this bill, Republicans don’t like this bill, and it’s better for everyone to start over, re-think the process, and do the right thing for liberty.


      • “Democrats don’t want anything to do with liberty”? Where does THAT idea come from?

        Just because Democrats are not eager to turn our country over lock, stock and barrel to free-market capitalists or the religious right (protestant version) doesn’t mean they are any less patriotic, freedom-loving Americans.

        Let’s stick with the issues instead of denigrating people we don’t agree with, okay?


        • I didn’t say all Democrats, I said Democrats that want nothing to do with liberty. There are Republicans that want nothing to do with liberty. We call them RINO’s. I believe most Democrats are very American, very patriotic. I believe they have fundamental differences in how they believe our government should handle things, especially when it comes to welfare of our country. I am actually not denegrating anyone in that comment. I am stating facts. If the Republican party cannot clean itself up, we will turn over seats to Democrats. I don’t agree with their platform, and in my opinion, their platform is not one of liberty. That doesn’t mean as individuals these people are not good, decent, patriotic Americans. But in the words of Ronald Reagan, “is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so. …” He goes on to say, “You and I are told increasingly that we have to choose between a left or right, but I would like to suggest that there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down”

          Those differences are why we have 2 main parties at this time. I hope we get more parties and more people involved in the process.

          I agree with Reagan. I realize you may not, but Pete, I always welcome your comments.


          • Why does it have to be Republicans vs. Democrats at all?

            Why can’t it be the ones with the best ideas for getting us out of the mess that two unfunded wars and a complete failure of an unfettered capitalist system got us into?


  5. This is a thoughtful treatise on a complicated issue. I can see both sides of it and would probably err on the side of doing the right thing by the people caught in the middle of situation not of their making. They’re just trying to feed their families, like the rest of us, and would welcome a path to citizenship.

    When we immigrated from England decades ago, it was a much more straight forward process to acquire citizenship. And, I also had the advantage of knowing the language and coming from a culture that is similar to what we have here in America.

    What would Jesus do, I wonder?


  6. I have loaded a copy of other proposed changes too lengthy to put here. Please go to the FREE STAR FILES on your right and download the PDF.

    I believe these changes are from Bramble.






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