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Benavidez: Cox Bends the Knee

Conservatives are adamant that the ever-increasing number of illegal immigrants coming over the southwest border are bringing crime in with them, endangering Americans. This narrative is incorrect.
Governor+Spencer+Cox+on+March+Jan.+18%2C+2022.+%28Courtesy+of+Flickr%29
Governor Spencer Cox on March Jan. 18, 2022. (Courtesy of Flickr)

 

Gov. Spencer Cox recently met with head of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, echoing his fellow conservatives’ narratives about illegal immigration.

Cox sent the Utah National Guard to aid Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s misguided and illegal placement of barbed wire around the border which has made the area unsafe for many people, including federal agents.

Conservatives are adamant that the ever-increasing number of illegal immigrants coming over the southwest border are bringing crime in with them, endangering Americans. This narrative is incorrect.

It has become an overused talking point from the political right. It is not only harmful but misses the mark entirely. The illogical and harmful narratives surrounding illegal immigration, championed by conservative groups, are not only overused but also bad for effective political discourse.

Cox’s Disagree Better campaign is another example of his inconsistency. Cox says he wants to promote unity while signing laws that make it harder to do so. Cox’s willingness to entertain this narrative by supporting conservatives who have stopped solutions from happening for political gains is unacceptable.

Utah cannot afford to re-elect a governor whose pathetic attempts to score more favor with the far right outweigh facts. Utahns deserve better.

The Undeniable Truth

Data points away from the idea that illegal immigration creates an influx of crime.

In the U.S., illegal immigrants have lower crime rates than native born citizens. Natural born citizens are more than twice as likely to be arrested for crimes, 2.5 times as likely to be arrested for drug related crimes and four times as likely to be arrested for property related crimes.

Undocumented immigrants boost the American economy, working some of the hardest jobs. They make up just over 4% of the entire country’s workforce despite being about 3% of the population. They significantly contribute to the economy by paying billions in federal and state taxes, and have played a major role in the GDP’s 30% increase since 2018.

Politicians pretending illegal immigration is exclusively negative is not only ignorant but also harmful. Cox has joined the far right in this overused narrative, by refusing to discuss any of this data and instead promoting harmful narratives through press conferences and social media.

Utahns overwhelmingly support making legal immigration more accessible, yet Cox still doesn’t talk about policy meant to help illegal immigrants become legal.

The Reality

Illegal immigration is a symptom of poorly written immigration laws.

Many immigrants wait over 20 years for their papers to be processed, with others having to wait even longer. There are many ideas for making this congested system better. People coming across the border aren’t looking to destroy America, they come seeking opportunity.

Sandra Escobar is a Mexican woman living in Utah. When she first came to the states, she was undocumented. Escobar works a full-time day job and has recently started taking night classes to finally gain her full citizenship. Escobar said her decision to come to the U.S. was based on opportunities: “First, because this country is better.”

Immigrants face significant amounts of racially motivated discrimination due to the false stories pushed by conservatives. Former President Donald Trump has literally echoed Nazi talking points when speaking about immigrants. In a speech Trump gave at one of his rallies in New Hampshire, he said immigrants are “poisoning the blood of our country,” a phrase used by Adolf Hitler in his 1925 manifesto.

Is Cox Misunderstood?

Cox has spoken out against Trump before. On at least one occasion, he said Trump would not be a good choice for the 2024 presidential election.

However, this only highlights Cox’s shaky position when political favor is at stake.

Unfortunately, Cox doesn’t seem to have anything to say about conservatives cherry-picking data and purposefully ignoring essential information regarding immigration.

Cox is actively trying to help immigrants and has signed bills helping them, including a bill making it easier to get an education. While this action is a good step, it doesn’t get to the root of the problem.

Cox has stated that Utah is not a safe haven for incoming migrants, a clear sign that Cox does not want immigrants to come into Utah. Meanwhile, Cox is saying non-border states should bear more weight to help border states with immigrants. Cox’s hypocrisy only highlights his ineffectiveness as governor.

Utah Deserves Better

Utah deserves a leader who takes the power and responsibility of their role seriously.

Cox claims to be focused on bipartisan solutions, specifically through his Disagree Better program. Yet when the Biden administration tried to pass a bill for border security, conservatives stopped it from passing at Trump’s will. Cox backed Abbott in a letter to Biden, claiming he must do something about the border. When the bill did not pass, Cox did not call out his fellow conservatives.

We must vote Cox out in the coming election. Utah deserves better leaders: those who believe in facts first.

 

[email protected]

@reallogicgov

 

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About the Contributor
Jake Benavidez, Opinion Writer
Jake Benavidez, from the town of West Valley City, Utah is pursuing three majors in Political Science, Economics, and Psychology. As an Opinion writer for the Chronicle, Jake wants to utilize the platform to engage in honest discussions about the real-world dynamics shaping our lives. With a commitment to understanding and steering clear of partisan hackery, Jake’s goal is to provoke thoughtful dialogue and critical thinking among readers. Other than politics Jake enjoys consuming history, music and art, including the immersive world of video games. Jake aspires to contribute to the public sector of government post-graduation, continuing his pursuit of logical governance.

Comments (1)

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    Noah GarciaApr 1, 2024 at 2:55 pm

    It seems so often that Conservatives have decent ambitions – can’t we all agree that a border solution is needed? Their generalized rhetoric is easy to understand on a lot of issues: I would also agree that Children shouldn’t have social media or should have some form of a safeguard to protect from explicit imagery, but it mostly seems to get so far wrapped in political nonsense that it seems to lose its original intent. For a party that always seems so intent on believing that its traditional approaches are historically data-driven and well-supported, it is horrible when arrogant rhetoric is allowed to fly. Cox isn’t a horrible governor, but I would agree that he should do more to challenge his party to do better. Immigrants are people too, and we have to make sure we facilitate a process that keeps that in mind – having to wait many years to immigrate is unfeasible for too many. Cox can stand with those same sentiments of protecting people and maintaining rights, but it has to come across in what he says and through the actions he takes better.

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