Sunday, August 08, 2010

Immigration: It's about what?

Today's Deseret News features an editorial by Mark H. Willes, president and CEO of Deseret Media Companies and former publisher of the Los Angeles Times. It is a thoughtful essay about the problem of illegal immigration. The title of the article is embedded in a large graphic.


Two thirds of the width and three fourths of the height of today's Deseret News front page was reserved for this editorial. The above graphic uses half of that front page space.

The dominant feature of the graphic is the Statue of Liberty, not even mentioned in the editorial. Nor does the editorial mention the poem by Emma Lazarus which is excerpted at the top of the graphic. The editorial doesn't even talk about the process, symbolized by the statue and poem, by which millions of immigrants, including my grandparents, became citizens of the United States. What the editorial does discuss has nothing to do with the statue or the poem. The graphic is out of place.

When visitors come to our home, they ring our doorbell. Two families (at different times) have been invited in to find refuge in our home for eight and seven months respectively. Five other individuals have also been invited in to stay with us for periods of from three to eighteen months. In every case, these people came in by invitation through the door. Yet we clearly had the right, at any time during their stay, to ask any of these guests to leave.

Now suppose one or more individuals climbs over our back fence without permission and takes up residence in our garage? Would we not have the right to ask these uninvited trespassers to leave? Of course we would.

The Statue of Liberty and the poem by Emma Lazarus both invite legal entry through the front door, not illegal entry over the back fence. The above graphic quotes four of the last five lines of the poem. The ommitted last line is why I feel the graphic is a mismatch for the editorial. The last line says:

"I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to be pedantic, but wasn't it nice how all those natives just let European illegal immigrants just kick them right out of their home? Yes, I know that invoking Europeans and native Americans is sort of the Godwin's law of immigration debate, but your example of it being about invited vs. uninvited guests in your home leaves a lot to be desired in such a complex issue. It's really not so cut and dry.


8/08/2010 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger R. Gary said...



I agree with you that native Americans were mistreated during the settlement of North America. I would add that the significance of that fact was not lost on our Founding Fathers, many of whom were skeptical of immigration.

Alexander Hamilton, for example, urged Americans to consider the immigration policy of the American Indians. Said he: "Prudence requires us to trace the history further and ask what has become of the nations of savages who exercised this policy, and who now occupies the territory which they then inhabited? Perhaps a lesson is here taught which ought not to be despised."

When the matter is finally settled, there will be less discussion. In the meantime, I will continue to express my opinions on my blog even on things that aren't yet "cut-and-dried."

8/08/2010 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

I recommend going to www.mormontimes.com and searching for articles regarding "immigration."

Some great stuff there. Only one of the articles on the first page of the search is an official church release, but given the fact that the paper, owned by the church, is called "Mormon Times," I think the trend of the articles might reflect the opinion of the church.

8/09/2010 04:13:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Tim, employees of Church owned business do NOT speak for the Church. The graphic on Sunday's Deseret News front page misrepresents its own editorial. The most recent statement issued by the Church on this issue is here.

8/09/2010 06:07:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

Of course you're right that they don't speak for the church. However, when dozens of articles in the Mormon Times are written on the subject and all point in a certain direction, that may be an indication of which direction the church is leaning. In fact, given that the church hasn't officially addressed the issue in a detailed manner, it's probably the best indication of which way the church is leaning.

The official statement you mention is of course also found on Mormon Times (if you look up immigration on the site, it's currently quoted extensively in the 8th article).

I realize you don't care for the picture. I'd be interested in your opinion of the article, especially where he says we should be "giving those who want to be contributing members of society a path out of uncertainty and fear."

8/09/2010 10:24:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Tim, during the 80s and 90s, Deseret Book (owned outright by the Church) sold a lot of obscenity, masqueraded as popular novels. The employees responsible for that mockery were not speaking for the Church and what they did was never an indication of the Church's attitude toward pornography.

It probably wouldn't be wise to read more into the Church statement than what is actually there. You can be sure it was thoroughly discussed and carefully worded.

In my opinion, the editorial was an even handed discussion of the current immigration issue. I said so in my post. The graphic, on the other hand, looks like a subtle attempt to allign the CEO with ideas not found in his editorial.

8/09/2010 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Tim said...

R. Gary,
I'm curious about your thoughts on this recent new church release and the Utah Compact it supports.


11/12/2010 07:13:00 AM  
Blogger R. Gary said...

Tim, first a short review of our conversation on this thread up to this point. The graphic on the front page of the August 8th Deseret News misrepresents its own editorial. Neither the graphic nor the editorial claims to speak for the LDS Church. Last month, MormonTimes misrepresented the Church on evolution one week (click here) and quoted a non-existent First Presidency statement the next (click here). It's clear to me that MormonTimes is not an official representative of the LDS Church.

The current Church statement and Utah Compact declaration are both quoted in full on the blog Faith-Promoting Rumor (click here). The official Church position statement on this, as on other topics, has my unqualified support.

11/12/2010 08:44:00 AM  

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