Chaffetz immigration reform offensive

By By Zach Edmunds

By Zach Edmunds

Jason Chaffetz is running for a seat in Congress that represents Utah’s 3rd District. In November, Chaffetz will square off with Democratic challenger and underdog Bennion Spencer for what is a largely Republican district.

Chaffetz has been criticized by some who think his stance on immigration reform is too harsh. According to a newsletter released Sept. 5, Chaffetz supports “tent cities” to hold any illegal alien who commits a crime until his or her eventual deportation. He stated at the May Utah Republican State Convention that we should house the immigrants in tents surrounded by barbed wire, justifying that if it’s good enough for our troops then “it’s good enough for our prisoners.” The Pew Center for Hispanics estimated that 57 percent of undocumented immigrants are Mexican, with 24 percent from other Latin American countries. These groups account for 81 percent of undocumented immigrants.

California Rep. Mike Honda indicated that Chaffetz’s comments were offensive and demonstrated a lack of sensitivity for Japanese-Americans’ past, showing a “blatant disregard of the need to be vigilant in remembering the lessons learned from a disgraceful chapter in U.S. history.”

The chapter that Honda is referring to is World War II, when Japanese nationals and Japanese-Americans were being held in internment camps after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

Chaffetz is running on the platform of a more traditional Republican stance on issues such as fiscal discipline, limited government and a strong national defense. He criticized Republican Christopher Cannon, the current Utah 3rd District Representative, on all of these during the primary, although Cannon had received a 96 percent approval rating by the American Conservative Union, a Republican organization which grades members of congress based on their adherence to conservative principles. These statements by Chaffetz targets minorities. In the face of mistakes of the past, to propose this course of action is ludicrous. Placing immigrants in “tent cities” will harm America’s image at home and abroad.

Chaffetz talks tough on cutting spending and limited government. The deficit has increased and federal bureaucracy has expanded. He should be able to ride the old fiscal conservative rhetoric to victory. Not only does his stance on immigration alienate the undocumented and their families, it also makes it hard for their representatives to support any legislation that Chaffetz brings to the table.

Hopefully his immigration stance doesn’t really reflect those of the people in District 3, or hopefully they will voice their opinions more clearly. If not, voters might find themselves getting the short end of the stick when it comes to good judgment, or maybe just wishing they had Chris Cannon back.

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Zach Edmunds