The More Things Change

Fewer than 600 people lived in Hancock county, Illinois in 1839.  They were farmers, mostly, and frontiersmen.

By the end of 1840, over 1,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints had moved into the county, settling primarily in the newly founded city of Nauvoo.  They came across the river as refugees.

By 1844, over 11,000 Mormons lived in Nauvoo and the surrounding area.  The largest non-LDS centers of population were Warsaw and Carthage and the population of those two towns together totalled only about 1,000.  Mormons outnumbered the old settlers by a margin of at least 10 to 1.

The old settlers were upset about all these foreigners just showing up and taking over.  Many of them came from other countries; they talked funny, acted weird,  and looked different.  Financially, times were tough and the newcomers had no jobs and no skills.  Most of them had worked in factories in the old country and there were no factory jobs to be had on the frontier, consequently they were often unemployed.  If they did find jobs, they were willing to work for less pay than others, so they dragged down wages.  Some of the Mormon newcomers lacked proper documentation, and many of them broke the law by trying to vote in elections, even though they weren’t citizens and couldn’t produce a birth certificate proof of citizenship on demand.  They dragged down the economy of Hancock county, first by inflating real estate prices to the point that ordinary citizens couldn’t afford to buy anything, and then, when the bankruptcy laws were liberalized, their leader took advantage and immediately declared bankruptcy, thereby repudiating the debt on thousands of acres of land.  Some of the newcomers also were convicted in a court of law of the crime of counterfeiting.  It was clear that the newcomers were poor, unemployed, and prone to crime.  And they cast their (often illegal) votes for the wrong candidates and parties.

Eventually the old settlers were able to use their connections in the legislature to get the Nauvoo charter repealed, and the newcomers found that their very existence in the county was a violation of the law.


  1. Cynthia L. says:

    Interesting historical post, Mark. But I don’t get the title. It’s almost like you’re saying there is some contemporary parallel here.

  2. Aaron Brown says:

    Mark hates Arizonans. And puppies. And butterflies. And goodness.

  3. “Many of them came from other countries; they talked funny, acted weird, and looked different. Financially, times were tough and the newcomers had no jobs and no skills.”

    Please provide some documentation to this and other effects. The immigrants, to my understanding were quite skilled. Which is what enabled them to build their own houses and contribute to making a city out of a swamp.

    Trying to draw parallels with people who “talk funny” meant to bring up an apparent ethnocentric-conclusion a reader is supposed to draw is weak sauce.

    Many, Mexicans by the way, have exactly the skills the US could benefit from, and many have them have enriched themselves and their families in the construction/renovation/hvac/etc industry.

    It’s strange some people get upset and bothered by people drawing false parallels that pre-suppsoe some kind of Republican slant in the history of the gospel, and then go right on doing the same thing on their own side.

    You feelings of concern for your fellow brothers are absolutely well placed. I do not share your zeal to make political connections were none exist. Having a righteous concern does not trump the rule of law ispo facto.

  4. Immigrants have almost always been persecuted in the US–but I never made the connection between that and the LDS persecution in Nauvoo. It makes sense that the persecution was more intense because many members were foreigners.

  5. John Mansfield says:

    Time for John Hamer and others to confirm with Mark Brown that, yes, the Mormons in the Midwest were a troublesome antisocial group who brought all their problems on themselves.

  6. Peter LLC says:

    I do not share your zeal to make political connections were none exist.

    Please provide some documentation to this and other effects.

  7. Having a righteous concern does not trump the rule of law ispo facto.

    heh, Mormons preaching the rule of law…except where it goes against our theology…

  8. I thought Mark was going to point out that, today, Nauvoo is once again a small town of a couple hundred people.

    Did the conclusion get left out in an Andy Shepherd kind of way?

  9. Re # 3, are there really Latter-day Saints who do not know that most of the Mormons who fled to Nauvoo at that time were “foreigners” from the Northeast United States and other countries and that this was a huge point of contention with the old settlers?

  10. Hah! Cute. Let me know how I might provide proof that I’m not prone to taking elements of church history and tying them to current political events. It’s one thing to look at principles, its another to try make stuff up about church history and then tie it to a political question. If there are some writings showing neighbors concerned about unskilled, funny speaking/looking Mormons in Nauvoo I’d like to read it.

    It just seemed like a cheap rhetorical point aimed to show “I’m right and church history says so”

    If I misinterpreted I apologize. Daniel, I’m not sure what you mean. I’m concerned about the human-impact on families that are here illegally. But I do not think that concern alone is enough to just ignore our immigration laws.

    I’d be much more in favor of a different approach. But AZ keeps enacting these kind of laws because that is one of the states that is really facing a lot of adverse consequences from illegal immigration.

    Still, this post is a bit of a silly attempt to conflate church history and declare victory. It’s a more sophisticated version of the “here’s a quote from a prophet that proves your wrong, debate over” except for in this case, it appears to be largely embellished. The immigrants were very skilled then. And many of them are skilled or developing valuable skills now.

    But as far as cheap political points go that solve nothing it’s a good start. Sorry to sound harsh. Immigration is dear to my family with a brother in Arizona married into a family facing all of these issues on a daily basis.

  11. I think the post is an acknowledgement that the lifeblood of the Church, particularly at the very beginning, was the immigrant convert. Thousands came from England’s impoverished, landless classes; thousands came from Denmark’s and Sweden’s impoverished, landless classes, and of course many came to the culturally alien frontier from the Yankee Northeast.

  12. #9, is that what was said? Financially, times were tough and the newcomers had no jobs and no skills

    That’s what I was basically taking up on… the funny looking, talking is a bit subjective, but I also would like to see some evidence it was said then. More interested in the lark that they were unskilled along with the lark that they many are also supposedly unskilled now– so unskilled they stand around outside of Home Depots all across the west getting hired…

  13. Fontier settlers, both in Missouri and in Nauvoo, had a fundamental issue with how Yankees and Brits talked. It’s not particularly controversial.

  14. Ah… so it’s classism. I’ll fully agree that immigration is actually more about classism than jobism or skillism.

    But then again, I believe most people on the frontier were poor. The poor fur trapper, complaining about the poor immigrant farmer for stealing his job and talking with a British or Swedish accent is an accusation I haven’t come across.

    There are plenty of Later-day Saints who think the beef old settlers had with immigrants into Nauvoo had more to do with a strange religion, seemingly theocracy-on-earth ideals, and a threat to political power– jobs and consumption of social services were not part of the mantra, but I could be wrong.

    From my understanding, in AZ the supporters of this law are generally concerned about: overcrowding of hospitals, services being consumed for which taxes are not collected, drugs and gang violence (which we have enough of a problem among legal citizens without having to import more).

    It’s a tough situation. Tossing religious history in the mix to prove a point just seems a bit of sophistry.

  15. john f. a “fundemental issue”? Serious? They were so up in arms about how they talked? As if anyone was really motivated by that then or now… No doubt they mocked each other a bit, then and now. But I don’t think anyone was really up in arms over the funny-accents to such a degree they had to throw them out. I suppose your point is, it was just good old fashion “otherism” that the people were bothered by. You’re different and I don’t like it so I’m going to look at everything you do and hate it. I’d agree that’s a part of it. That doesn’t change my opinion on the other points that seem politically motivated.

    My point still stands that it’s unfortunate a site with sophisticated posters who decry the use of religion to score some political points to turn around and do the same thing. But hey, you’ve done it in a nice literary, aren’t-I-smart way, so it’s all good!

    What you’re left with is two sides… still further entrenched and certain of their own political-righteousness.

  16. classicism is something else entirely.

  17. Thanks, Mark. chris’ reaction has made the entire post worth it.

  18. I don’t think that Mark’s post is overly political. Not everyone who opposes what AZ is trying to do is a liberal (in the dysfunctional way that term is used in the United States today). Rather, plenty of conservatives oppose it as well.

    The post points out the place of immigrants, both legal and illegal, in our own history as a Church. Times were different then so there is only so much value such a parallel can have but it is interesting nonetheless, especially based on the extent to which some Mormons seem to be pushing this immigration crack down so forcefully. That the Pearce-Sandstrom movement stems from Mormon legislators is odd given the place of immigrants in our history. At the very least, though, it shows that Salt Lake City is not controlling Mormon legislators since, to my understanding, the Church takes a much more moderate stance on immigration — that is, immigration status is irrelevant to one’s Gospel life.

  19. I have long had a concern that while Mormons have a strong sense of our mistreatment and persecution, that we are largely insensitive to the same treatment of others. It was bad in the early days of the church because it was us, not because persecution itself is bad.

    In philosophical literature about toleration, there is a discussion about whether religious groups support toleration for the sake of survival, or out of principle.

  20. Coffinberry says:

    I’m wrestling with the particular locals v. newcomers parallel you draw. Yes, undoubtedly there was some of that sentiment, but maybe not as much as you might think. For the north-American born Saints, their migration patterns east to west were not dissimilar from the migration patterns of the other settlers in western Illinois and eastern Iowa.

    My ancestors were among the earlier settlers in the region. One frontiersman ancestor was Governor Clark (as in Lewis and Clark)’s liaison in the Commerce, Illinois area up until the late 1820s; his origin was New Hampshire. Other ancestors in the area came from Ohio (and before that, New England). The general region was positively loaded with people trying new religion/civic ways of living and thinking.

    Foreigners were also common — my German-speaking Mennonite ancestors came from the Rhein-phalz to the same counties as the Saints beginning about 1839.

    So I guess I am saying I get what you’re saying, but don’t think it’s particularly accurate or even enlightening.

  21. I’m glad I could humor you Chris H. :)

  22. Mark Brown says:


    It is a matter of record that the saints who were driven from Missouri and also the new converts from Europe were destitute. They simply had no money, and consequently there was no cash with which to pay wages. Joseph Smith tried heroically to provide employment for the new immigrants, and succeeded to a miraculous degree. But there were still hundreds of men who couldn’t support their families and were dependent on the church for relief. The church tried to put them to work on the temple, the mansion house, and in the pineries in Wisconsin, but there was only so much work and so much money, and the converts just kept coming. Finding employment for them all was a huge challenge for the church leaders.

    By the way, please stop calling me a liar.

  23. Boy_ there is some bad history and sociology on this post. These things are better taken up by scholars and not left to mythology. I see many good signs that this is happening.

  24. Mark Brown says:

    Bob, please be specific and point out anything that is inaccurate. I will be happy to change it.

  25. Well, one anachronism is that virtually no jurisdiction in the U.S. kept track of births. Birth certificates were unknown and would not have been produced or demanded for any purpose. But I take your overall point, I suppose.

  26. Mex Davis says:

    It is my understanding that wasn’t just a Mormon problem but the facts are this was a national problem as immigrants from all over were beginning to flood the East coast. Many were very poor, some skilled some not. Many came over with very little and settled in very poor areas of New York, etc. Unemployement was high and wages were very low. The Irish were disliked and were put to work in the mines and other hard labor fields. Many could not speak english. So this was a problem that reflected the times. Large voting blockes were created anywhere large groups, of one type of people, settled. I believe one of the big problems with the Mormon was that they were Mormons and all that came with that stigma.

  27. Mark Brown says:

    Caraway, thanks, I appreciate the constructive criticism, and have edited the post to reflect your correction.

  28. re: 19
    History is replete with examples of persecuted minorities jumping at the chance to do the same to another group. It’s one of the worst elements of human character, imo.

  29. Nothing jumps out specifically so far, but I want to get on the record here that

    a) I know this topic is really sensitive, and

    b) I will delete the crap out of any comments that get insulty or rude to either side here.

  30. Ok, I don’t see what the big deal is. I know I am politically naive, but why is this Arizona thing such a big deal? Shoot me an email if you don’t think we can talk like adults online.

  31. In point of fact, while Joseph Smith filed for bankruptcy, I think he was ultimately denied a discharge.

  32. #30–Two reasons.
    First, it looks like it requires anyone who could be suspected of being an illegal immigrant to carry papers with them wherever they go. In other words, you can’t go running/swimming/biking without an ID if there’s a chance some cop might think you’re not in the country legally.

    Second, and more importantly, if local police are going to arrest people for being in the country illegally, those people are not likely to contact the police after they or a loved one becomes a victim of a crime. Criminals, then, have a free pass to steal from, beat, and rape illegal immigrants, as it is unlikely that such criminal acts would be reported to the police. I don’t think that’s going to help the actual crime levels in Arizona (although reported crimes may go down).

  33. I’m usually persnickety enough to look askance at broad historical analogies, and to be sure there are ways in which this one can be picked apart. But I think its basic implication–that from the perspective of the gospel and the church, the issues which lead people to draw boundaries of exclusion should not be as important as those issues which demand that people be included in the whole–is well-supported throughout Mormon history. You can see it in the Perpetual Immigration Fund of the 19th-century, and you can see it in the statements by church leaders regarding immigration today. (And if church leaders aren’t enough for you, there’s Orson Scott Card’s take on the issue. Whatever you may think of his opinions, you’ve got to give him credit for his consistency; he’s been insisting that any proper interpretation of Mormon scriptures and history runs completely contrary to the very idea of “illegal immigration” for more than 15 years.)

  34. A third to Tim’s 32: American citizens, and non-citizens in the country legally as tourists, visitors, students, legal residents, etc., are subject to being stopped at the whim of any officer who wants to check their legal status. The daily lives of American citizens who have done nothing illegal stand to be repeated disrupted by any officer who wants to hassle a Latino for “driving while brown” or for working at a “typical” immigrant job, or for looking sideways at an officer, or for turning and walking the other way (“fleeing”) if he wants to avoid yet another demand that he prove his legality. Are these indignities ones you would subject yourself to in the name of ending illegal immigration? Or do you not care because as a white man or woman, you know you are subject to these random and repeated indignities?

  35. “you know you are NOT subject to these random and repeated indignities”

  36. Hey chris (not Chris H), who said anything about Mexicans? (your comment 3)

  37. I guess the biggest problem that I have here is that bankruptcy is thrown in. Is bankruptcy really a problem among immigrants in this country? It seems to be a larger problem among young (and not so young) couples who have chosen to overextend themselves in an effort to keep up with the Jones’. I realize that this is a gross generalization, and don’t want to offend people who have been forced into bankruptcy by circumstances beyond their control.
    Here’s my take on immigration: Let’s keep anyone in the country who is willing to work, and deport those who are not willing (notice I said not willing, not unable).

  38. I can honestly say that every illegal immigrant I know is currently working. That’s why they’re here. If the work goes away, they go away.
    So I’m all for deporting those illegal immigrants who are not willing to work. I just don’t think we’ll find many of those.

  39. AZ Resident says:

    Caraway – have you previously read SB1070, or are you offering your own opinion as fact? Your honest answer would be appreciated.

    If you have not yet read the bill, here’s a suggestion:

    You may find the actual text of Section 11-1051 (B) instructive.

  40. #39–I imagine a non-white with an accent or speaking in a foreign language would be enough to create a “reasonable suspicion” for a cop.
    The fact that “reasonable suspicion” is not more carefully defined in the statute is troublesome, from both a practical and a legal standpoint.

  41. Mex Davis says:

    I feel we should be smarter about this issue. It is a good thing that people want to come to our country but we have a right to protect our borders and control the flow of this worker traffic. Since they pay large sums of money to people to smuggle them in, let’s set up guest worker program. Pay the sum to us to work for 2-3 years with a control on the numbers. There still will be some who want in but there is some sense of control. At least they are paying for some of the cost we are incurring. Don’t know of many not working as they need to send the money back home for support of their families. Allowing police officers to question their status doen’t seem to bad on the surface but we are quaranteed the right of free movement so this a very gray area to me anyway.

  42. I have to reaffirm the second point made by Tim in #32

    I was listening to an interview with Tucson Chief of Police Roberto Villaseñor, who mentioned that in all contacts with the public if an LEO has a reasonable suspicion that the person is here illegally they will need to investigate, and upon determining that the person has no illegal status they need to detain the person, inform ICE and transport the person to ICE custody. Suspects, witnesses and victims alike.

    I wonder what will happen to LDS LEOs who become aware of illegals in their ward/stake?

    Generally – I think Mark’s post brings to mind the need to be sympathetic to the situation of those who are more like our ancestors than we might like to admit.

  43. Peter LLC says:

    These things are better taken up by scholars and not left to mythology.

    Sure, participants in a discussion do well to be informed and no one benefits when myths are rehashed, but there would seem to be plenty of space between expertise and tall tales for the republican masses to have their say.

  44. re # 34 and # 40, I think that they long-term effect of the AZ will probably be that all Arizonans will need to carry their “papers” with them at all times. This is because the AZ police will need to implement the legislation in a seemingly non-discriminatory way or else open themselves up to charges of discrimination. So they will have to pretend that they care as much about illegal immigration of ethnic Europeans, Slavs, Semitic peoples, Asian Indians, Orientals, Africans and Canadians as they do about illegal immigration from Mexico, Central America and South America. As a result, being blond haired and blue eyed will be no defense against a cop’s random demand to see your papers.

    I always thought of America as a country where it would be unthinkable to have to carry a passport or other documentation proving legal citizenship or residency status. This legislation in AZ takes a step in that direction and that is very worrying. Being white will not prevent you from being stopped and asked for your papers in a situation where police need to appear to be applying legislation of this nature in a non-discriminatory way.

  45. Peter LLC says:

    they need to detain the person, inform ICE and transport the person to ICE custody. Suspects, witnesses and victims alike.

    I can’t imagine that the Arizona executives are planning on manhandling voters in that fashion.

  46. #24: Mark, You said Handcock had 600 person before Nauvoo. But feel a new 12,000-20,000 person city weakened the Hancock economy.
    “The old settlers were upset about all these foreigners just showing up and taking over. Many of them came from other countries; they talked funny, acted weird, and looked different”. I believe the closest ‘old setters’ were the Scandinavians across the river. They were very happy about Nauvoo. 102 Scandinavians missionaries brought 30,000 Scandinavians converts to Utah.

  47. I can honestly say that every illegal immigrant I know is currently working. That’s why they’re here. If the work goes away, they go away.
    So I’m all for deporting those illegal immigrants who are not willing to work. I just don’t think we’ll find many of those.

    Probably not a ton that aren’t willing to work. But I bet you’d find a hefty amount that aren’t working. I work at a company that naturally draws Latin applicants, in a heavily Latin community, and I probably get on average 2 new applicants a day, for a company that employs 20 people. In fact I literally had to stop typing this very comment to go attend to a person looking for a job. So, while you may only know illegal immigrants that are employed, I have met hundreds of unemployed immigrants, many of whom I would statistically assume to be illegal, in just the last year.
    I don’t personally have a dog in this fight, comment 38 was just flawwed in my opinion.

  48. John Mansfield says:

    “It appeared manifest to the conference that the places appointed for the gathering of the Saints were at this time crowded to overflowing, and that it was necessary that there be more stakes of Zion appointed in order that the poor might have a place to gather to, ‘wherefore it was moved, seconded and voted unanimously that President Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon be requested by this conference to go and appoint other stakes, or places of gathering, and that they receive a certificate of their appointment, signed by the clerk of the Church.'”

    “Agreeable to the vote of the conference on the 17th, Bishop Whitney and counselors issued the memorial as follows :

    Kirtland, Ohio, September 18th, 1837.

    To the Saints Scattered Abroad, the Bishop of Kirtland and his Counselors send Greeting:

    [. . .] And besides all this there have been a large number of poor who have had to receive assistance from the donations of the Church, which have tended to increase its embarrassments; and now so numerous are the Saints grown that it is impracticable for them all to gather to the places which are now appointed for this purpose. [. . .]

    History of the Church, vol. 2, Chapter 36, p. 514-515

  49. Mark Brown says:

    Bob, the old settlers didn’t want thousands of destitute people setttling among them. You might thing that that is inaccurate, but every person who has studied the economy of Nauvoo would think you are wrong.

    Also, please re-read the post. There were between 500 and 600 people already in Hancock county, not across the river, when the Mormons arrived.

    None of this is even in dispute by anybody who has even tried to understand what happened in Nauvoo, it’s hard to understand why you are trying to refute it.

  50. I believe ‘Citizenship’ first appears in the U.S. Constitution in the 14th Amendment in 1868(?)

  51. Mark Brown says:

    Again, this isn’t about what was or wasn’t in the constitution. It is about what the original white settlers of the area thought of the Mormon immigrants.

    They were afraid that the newcomers would vote as a block, and they were concerned that many of the newcomers came from outside of the U.S.

  52. John Mansfield says:

    Foreign-born population in Missouri according to the 2000 Census: 2.7% or 1 in 37.
    Foreign-born population in Arizona: 12.8% or 1 in 8.

  53. One thing I don’t get about this insane legislation is how in the world is a person supposed to prove on the spot they are a citizen or not?

  54. 53 by the marking on their hands and foreheads *gasp

  55. #49: If you are trying to tell me 500 ‘old settles’ from Hancock took down Nauvoo, I disagree.
    The people across the river were Scandinavians, not people from Hancock.
    I don’t look at Nauvoo as a slum city.

  56. Mark Brown says:

    Mansfield, we’re talking about Hancock county Illinois, in 1844, right? So I’m trying to understand what the Missouri 2000 census in Missouri has to do with that.

  57. Steve Evans says:

    Monstrous, embarrassing stuff.

  58. re # 53, by showing the police officer your “papers”, whether that be your passport, your birth certificate or your green card. The point is that you will have to be carrying it with you, whether you are hispanic/latino or not. Being white won’t make you exempt from the suspicion of being an illegal immigrant given our society’s supposed commitment not to discriminate against people on the basis of ethnicity or national origin.

  59. john f.
    I’ve heard that non-EU nationals living in the UK need an ID card, although I’m not sure they have to carry it with them. Do you have one of these?

  60. John Mansfield says:

    Mr. Brown, I was under the impression that Missouri is where you live.

  61. psychochemiker says:

    #58 John f.

    Being as this is a free country, you are not bound to stay in Arizona.

    As a legal citizen of the United States, you are free to choose to live in AZ, which may decide enforcing an ID check is valid, and you, like every other American citizen has the choice whether to stay in that state or not. Of course, the real objection everyone has to this, is that if AZ tries to protect itself, other states may try, and then both political parties may be forced to ACTUALLY listen to the majority of their constituents and enforce immigration law!

    I write this as as someone with mexican heritage, but european looks. I won’t mind needing to have my ID to prove I’m an American citizen when I choose to visit AZ. If it makes AZ worth visiting by reducing the crime rate, it’s a good thing.

  62. Let me amend my earlier statement (37) to say that I’m in favor of deporting american citizens who aren’t willing to work as well, regardless of race, color or creed. I suppose this is a little tongue in cheek, but hopefully makes my point a little more clearly than I did earlier.

  63. Peter LLC says:

    I’ve heard that non-EU nationals living in the UK need an ID card, although I’m not sure they have to carry it with them.

    Where I live I’m supposed to keep my passport within an hour’s travel time.

  64. Mark (56),
    I think the point John Mansfield is getting (in 52) at is that it’s easy to play armchair quarterback when something isn’t affecting our lives personally.

    To some extent, that’s understandable–a very seasoned, wise person recently asked a few of us if our views on race issues are skewed by not living in, say, Louisiana. However, for my part, I think in this particular case, whether difficulties with illegal immigration are affecting us personally or not doesn’t alter the stupidity of what I think is a very stupid piece of legislation. In other words, I lurve you, and this post, Mr. Brown.

  65. So if I simply have a birth certificate in my glove box that says any name on it at all I can say it’s mine?

  66. Mark Brown says:

    John (and Scott),

    OK, I understand now.

    John, I used to live in the Kansas City area but now call Louisiana home. Many people, including some of my co-bloggers, regard the pelican state as a foreign country.

    That census from 2000 is interesting. Other states — California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts — have a rate of foreign born people as high or even twice as high as Arizona.

  67. re # 59, Ronan, no I don’t think that’s true. I just have my passport with a visa glued in that reflects a certain work permit status. Not sure how that will change with residency status. I don’t think you would have to carry it with you. I don’t have to carry my driver’s license with me in the UK when I drive, do I?

  68. AZ Resident says:

    40 – I take it you are not a resident of Arizona, NM, or other southwestern state, where the items you list would in fact clearly be unreasonable based on the demographics of legal residents of the state.

    To your point, what is “reasonable” in this context is already well defined in AZ case law. An accurate, though not technical , summary can be found here:

  69. Mark,

    Just to be clear–I’m with you on this one. I was actually thinking of doing a post about all of the ways the Church and our scripture might be different if we enforced immigration then as we did now. For example:

    -Lehi arrives in the promise land, rejoices over the fruits, precious ores, and natural beauty, and then gets put back on a ship and sent home to Jerusalem, where he is stoned to death.

    -Anti-Nephi-Lehies are told to get out of dodge when they show up needing a place to call their own. They all become Nehors, turn on the Church, and kill the future Captain Moroni when he was just a child, leading to a truncation of the Book of Alma–it is only 26 chapters long in this world.

    -The Mormon Church, denied of virtually all of our immigrant converts, ceases to exist. Our religion becomes known in history as that weird bunch people with multiple wives who believed in gold bibles and angels, but never really understood how to fit into society. Oh, wait.

  70. re # 61, I remember learning in school during the Cold War that one thing different about America was that you could go anywhere you pleased without having to “show your papers”. Only totalitarian states like the Soviet Union would require people to carry documents with them at all times and to show them on demand by officials of the regime or the police. But then again, they also made us do nuclear bomb drills — as if crouching in front of your lockers would protect you in the face of a hit by a nuclear bomb — so what did they know?

    Apparently, some Americans who define themselves as ultra-conservatives in 2010 have nothing against having to carry documents proving citizenship or legal immigration status at all times and showing them on demand of a police officer. I had always thought it was the opposite: that the ultra-conservatives were the most interested in freedom from any and all interaction with the government or its bureaucracy. The AZ legislation shows that this is incorrect. Ultra-conservatives apparently trust the police to a very great extent and welcome giving them vast power over people’s movements and lives.

    I think persuasive comments have been made above to the effect that this will not reduce crime at all. Instead, it will disincentivize illegal immigrants from calling the police when they have been victims, or stepping forward when they’ve been witnesses. This will turn them even more into a victim class and empower criminals to abuse them with impunity.

  71. jf,

    Thanks for the clarification. Your point about “ultra-conservatives” (aka “nutters”) is apropos: it’s the Conservatives in the UK (aka “normal” conservatives) who oppose Labour’s national ID card proposal. Once again, American conservatism proves that it has utterly lost the plot.

  72. AZ Resident says:

    69 – Are you asserting that the 19th century immigrants to America entered the USA illegally?

  73. 72,
    I’m asserting that we had a very liberal policy regarding immigration back in the day. We didn’t have a quota until the 1920’s, if I recall correctly.

  74. Don’t forget the bans on Chinese immigration in the nineteenth-century.

  75. John Mansfield says:

    So, Louisiana, which had 2.6% foreign-born population, and the highest portion native to the state of any state (79.6%).

    Why no interested in Bishop Whitney’s 1837 letter warning that Kirtland had no more capacity to care for more poor and asking that other stakes be established elsewhere to carry the load?

  76. Of course, we targeted the Chinese a few decades prior to the 1924 laws, but that wasn’t JUST for job security like the Arizona bill–it was also racially motivated. Oh, wait.

  77. AZ Resident says:

    73: I agree – I think US immigration law should be liberalized substantially. It should be much easier for those who wish to come here lawfully to do so, especially to work.

    Until that happens, however, how do you reconcile your position with the 12th article of faith?

  78. Nice–john f. You beat me to it.

  79. 77,

    1. I’m not suggesting we don’t enforce the law; I’m suggesting we get rid of bad, evil, racist laws.

    2. Using scripture as a bludgeon is a good way to get banninated.

  80. re # 77, how do you reconcile President Monson’s position with the 12th Article of Faith? If the 12th Article of Faith were implicated in this issue, would illegal immigrants be bishops and stake presidents right there in the environs of Salt Lake City and elsewhere throughout the Southwestern United States?

  81. John F.

    Currently where I live if the police stop you in a car or even on the street you have to show ID. Or if you get technical if the officer arrests you you have to show ID. See the stop and frisk laws. Almost everybody has a DL or state ID card. My brother in law was arrested by the Arlington TX police because he refused to show ID. He was convicted and sent to jail partially because of this charge. I am not sure the idea that you have to show ID if stopped is any type of real change in the US.

  82. AZ Resident says:

    79: re 1: What position do you take with respect to enforcement of existing laws until and if such laws are revised?

    re 2: Not sure how the question was using anything as a bludgeon. Was simply requesting a layout of your thought process. The question has been reframed as 1) above.

    80: That’s an interesting question, and an even bolder assertion. In particular, I’d appreciate a link to a direct statement from Monson wherein he advocates not enforcing existing law.

    Can you cite for me an example of a stake president in the area you reference that is not a lawful resident of the USA?

  83. re # 82, if the 12th Article of Faith were somehow implicated by immigration issues in the United States, would President Monson, in his capacity presiding over the Church, allow illegal aliens to be bishops or stake presidents? Whether he has said something specifically on point or not is irrelevant. We’re talking about a Church led by God through a prophet and apostles and leadership callings that we believe come from God.

    In any event, Peggy Stack’s Salt Lake Tribune article notes the Church’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” implied policy on illegal immigrants and asserts that there are bishops and stake presidents in the Salt Lake Valley and elsewhere that are undocumented aliens.

  84. re # 81, are you saying that if you are walking down the street in your Texas town and a cop asks you to show ID, and you are not carrying ID, you can be arrested? So this means that you have to be carrying ID at all times? This sounds profoundly un-American to me. I must just be out of touch with the times.

    In any event, the next step is that you cannot just carry ID but rather you will need to carry proof of legal citizenship or legal immigrant status (green card or visa or other residency documentation).

  85. AZ Resident (82),
    Ask and ye shall receive!
    (Admittedly, not President Monson–you’ll have to settle for Elder Holland speaking on behalf of the Church.)

  86. Also, re # 82, why do you want me to name names? Is it because you want to work to get some SLC area stake president deported?

  87. While admittedly based upon a Nevada statute, the US Supreme Court has upheld the requirement to provide one’s identity to a LEO, in Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court, rejected the argument that requiring identification violated the individual’s Fourth or Fifth Amendment rights. (This is certainly a reduction of the holding of that case).

  88. John F.

    Legal immigrants are required already to have some form of immigration paperwork on them at all times. Like a green card for example. The situation you describe already is federal law.

    Yes, If a cop stops you and asks for ID you have to ID yourself. In some states you have to be arrested to show ID so what a cop will do is arrest you for disobeying a PO and then force you to ID yourself. You have never watched COPS? When they stop a susp person the first thing they do is get ID on them and detain them if they refuse to show ID.

    This new AZ law is really not that onerous. You already have to show ID when pulled over in a car so they take it to the next level and start turing illegals over to ICE when people cannot prove who they are.

    Heck I have to show legal ID to even get inside my kids school

  89. 87–Yes, but is that a requirement to give one’s name or to provide actual physical identification?

  90. bbell,
    You have to show ID when pulled over in a car not because you’re required to have identification, but because you’re required to be licensed to operate a car. Because a drivers license also operates as ID, you technically have to have ID.

    Also, in order to get into certain public and private places, you have to have ID. But you can’t be arrested for not having it; rather, you just can’t enter.

    I’ve never been anywhere (other than Brazil), though, where you were required to have ID walking around on the streets. Although it’s possible, I sincerely doubt that you could be arrested, walking legally in (say) a public park if a police officer stopped you and asked for your ID. Heck, most places in the U.S., you aren’t required to have ID, provided you don’t work, don’t fly, and don’t drive.

  91. Sam B,

    See Stop and Frisk laws. My Bro in law got arrested in Arlington TX for refusing to show ID to a PO and went to jail.

  92. AZ Resident (77),
    How do you reconcile the 12th Article of Faith (drafted 1842, included in the British Pearl of Great Price in 1851, and canonized as part of the PoGP in 1880) with Mormonism’s polygamy, c. 1842-1890/1904-ish?

    Which is to say, the 12th Article of Faith argument is pretty weak; we have historically not had a problem disobeying what we consider to be bad laws. Moreover, even in recent history, we haven’t had much of a problem disobeying inconvenient laws (see, e.g., my wife’s mission, where missionaries didn’t get the required paperwork to be in one of the countries they were in until the country arrested and deported two missionaries).

    Which isn’t to say we should disobey any law we want at will, or that we don’t take the assertions of the 12th Article of Faith seriously. It is, though, to say that there is no black and white, and invoking the 12th AoF, while it certainly may be part of the discussion of how Mormons and Mormonism relate to legal regimes, is far from the end of the discussion.

  93. I was reading Alma 5 last night, which struck me as significant. I had for some reason written in the margins “The sins of the members of the Church of God”, as they were the people Alma was teaching at the time. He’s pretty pointed in in his condemnation:

    19 I say unto you, can ye look up to God at that day with a pure heart and clean hands? I say unto you, can you look up, having the image of God engraven upon your countenances?
    20 I say unto you, can ye think of being saved when you have yielded yourselves to become subjects to the devil?
    21 I say unto you, ye will know at that day that ye cannot be saved; for there can no man be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins.
    22 And now I ask of you, my brethren, how will any of you feel, if ye shall stand before the bar of God, having your garments stained with blood and all manner of filthiness? Behold, what will these things testify against you?
    23 Behold will they not testify that ye are murderers, yea, and also that ye are guilty of all manner of wickedness?

    And just what were these sins?

    Lack of humility
    Mocking our brother
    Heaping on our brothers (and sisters) persecution
    Being puffed up in the vain things of the world
    Wearing of costly apparel
    Seeking after riches
    Turning your backs on the poor and withholding your substance from them

    I find much in this to incriminate me, so don’t think I am dodging much guilt here, but I think the Lord expects better of us in regards to the poor among us, wherever they are from, and whoever they are.

    This Arizona law, and many other such ideas, strike me as being a slippery slope indeed, and certainly a snare to many of us as Latter-day Saints. We want to think we are doing right, but it is easy to be deceived when we place politics above religion, and I mean that equally for both conservatives and liberals. We need to do much, much better.

  94. 68 – That link to the article is a naive attempt at justification. For example he says, “reasonable suspicion” cannot be “based SOLEY on race, color, or national origin.” Then he says this as to what it can be: “reasonable suspicion” means an action or response that in the mind of a reasonable person (one without an ideological agenda) would arouse suspicion and warrant further investigation.” Anyhow, the way this fiction works in Irvine, CA, near where I live, is that if a cop sees a late model mini-van with an “El Cucuy” sticker on the bumper, he’ll follow the car until he can find a broken tail light, late registration sticker, run the plates, “smells something”, too many passengers, etc. Some pretext. Then he’ll pull the van over. Next, he’s into their car doing a “consensual search”, and four other units (who have absolutely nothing else to do in Irvine) arrive at the scene to lower the boom by either making an arrest for a crime, or they will ring up the driver for every conceivable and expensive traffic infraction in the Vehicle Code.

    Irvine residents don’t want Mexicans driving through their city. They don’t want Mexicans driving through their city because of all the stereotypes (poor, crime, resource abusers, etc.) that go with Mexicans (this is so, even though the shadow economy that upgrades their travertine and creates their French gardens in a desert is mostly maintained by Mexicans). But because of the tail light he’s got “reasonable suspicion” and then PC to detain the motorist for “further investigation.” Good ol’ probable cause and other proxies.

    I’ve been a deputy DA in a county in Southern California. The ideological agenda is never stated. Instead, it is understood. It is executed by law enforcement in highly technical ways, like the tail light technique, at the behest of the citizenry and local politicians. As long as an officer on the stand can point to a non-race/ethic based reason he made the stop, the judge is happy at the suppression hearing. In AZ now, the issue is not just whether there is RS to detain for infractions, misdems, or felonies. That’s old law now. Under the new AZ law, it’s whether there is RS to believe that the person is present in the state illegally. That is the new crime. This means that any non-race based stereotype suggesting you are from a foreign country (e.g., MEXICO) is RS: bumper stickers, soccer jerseys, late car models, coin op laundries, taqueria dinners, anything regardless of whether the person actually is legal or not (I name these because I’m white and have done all of them at one time or another and never want cops/the state interfering with me). These are the silly factors you might see cops citing if they actually enforce this; of course, they’ll never say, “Yes, I stopped him because racially he appears Mexican.”

    And to 40’s point, do you really think an AZ cop is going to stop me if I, a white guy, am speaking Spanish? The naivete of the article is, actually, shocking, as is this belief: “the items you list would in fact clearly be unreasonable based on the demographics of legal residents of the state.” Wrong. There are many legal residents in AZ, CA, NM who were born Mexican, immigrated here illegally, are now legal, are not white, and do not speak a lick of English. But now they are subject to being detained in AZ. The grounds that 40 mentions are precisely the unstated grounds for a detention.

    AZ residents – If you read 1070 and think, “I have no reason to worry because I’m not doing anything wrong,” then you’re out of touch. German civilians in the 30s and 40s said the same thing about Hitler’s initiatives to remove a certain race/ethnicity from Germany. They too thought, “Hey, I’m not Jewish. No biggy. And these people are causing me woes.” Shame on you AZ. Shame on you non-LDS of Hancock County.

    I’ll note that despite the confusion and insecurity of Hancock County residents during Nauvoo, Germans during WWII, and Californians during Proposition 187, there are still LDS in Missouri, still Jews in Europe and Germany, and still Mexicans in California. These social-constructs don’t stem the tide of market forces and human/civil rights. They never work, and their proponents and supporters always look foolish later.

    By the way, do you know who this “reasonable person” without an ideological agenda is in the article? I don’t.

  95. bbell, your bro in law was just asked for his ID because he looked Canadian.

  96. bbell,
    Per my quick search, “stop and frisk” requires a police officer to have a “reasonable suspicion” that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.

    And even though “reasonable suspicion” appears to be a less exacting standard than “probably cause,” it still doesn’t permit the police to stop and frisk you if you are out lawfully walking.

    Moreover, even if the police officer told your brother-in-law that he was being arrested for not producing ID, I would be surprised if that (a) was the actual reason and (b) even if it was, if that was a legal reason to bring him in. Did your brother-in-law talk to a lawyer or challenge the assertion in court?

  97. But joking aside, bbell, what I hear you saying is that your understanding of the law is that you must have ID with you at all times in the United States of America, and you are fine with that (also implying that you are fine with police officers having the power to (1) ask you to show ID at any time and (2) arresting you if you do not happen to be carrying any ID on you).

  98. AZ Resident says:

    83: Your argument presupposes that people are also not called as bishops, etc, who are guilty of felonies or other excommunicable offenses. I would be happy to provide numerous incidents to the contrary. Thus, a blanket assertion that “they were called, therefore everything in their life must be in order” is patently false.

    To your second point, please forgive me for not giving any weight to the unsupported assertions of Ms. Stack.

    85: The statement in the article you linked to: “We’re not agents of the immigration service, and we don’t pretend to be,” apostle Jeffrey R. Holland told The Salt Lake Tribune recently, “and we also won’t break the law.” seems to assert that Elder Holland is saying that the Church DOES NOT break the law. His statement can only be read to support obeying the law, and not to support breaking it.

    86. No, it’s because principles of discussion and debate require evidence in support of an assertion. Unless supported, the assertion is meaningless.

    92: Excellent points, and I appreciate your insight.

    94. Clearly our perspectives differ. Allow me to follow-up with a related inquiry. As between someone who follows the legal procedure to enter this country, and someone who crosses the border illegally, do you feel one has a better/stronger claim (moral, legal, or otherwise) than the other to “liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” here in the USA? If so, why? And if not, why?

  99. Anyhow, the way this fiction works in Irvine, CA, near where I live, is that if a cop sees a late model mini-van with an “El Cucuy” sticker on the bumper, he’ll follow the car until he can find a broken tail light, late registration sticker, run the plates, “smells something”, too many passengers, etc. Some pretext. Then he’ll pull the van over. Next, he’s into their car doing a “consensual search”, and four other units (who have absolutely nothing else to do in Irvine) arrive at the scene to lower the boom by either making an arrest for a crime, or they will ring up the driver for every conceivable and expensive traffic infraction in the Vehicle Code.

    As a resident of Irvine, I testify that all of the above is true. Especially the part about 4 police cars arriving on the scene for a standard traffic violation. It is the kind of thing you simply have to see to believe.

    Irvine residents don’t want Mexicans driving through their city. They don’t want Mexicans driving through their city because of all the stereotypes (poor, crime, resource abusers, etc.) that go with Mexicans (this is so, even though the shadow economy that upgrades their travertine and creates their French gardens in a desert is mostly maintained by Mexicans).

    As a resident of Irvine, I testify that the above is not entirely true. I don’t mind Mexicans driving through my city, and I don’t really care for French gardens.

  100. re # 98, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” are described as “inalienable rights”. Translated into modern language, these are human rights which are not contingent on any particular arbitrary and byzantine complex of immigration laws at a given time.

    Of course, this Jeffersonian gloss about the “pursuit of happiness” is a deviation from the true Lockean natural rights Triumvirate of “life, liberty and property”. Under that natural law code, illegal aliens are endowed by their Creator with the ability to own property in addition to their individual integrity (life) and their freedom to pursue their own destiny (liberty).

  101. John Sam this is to theoretical at this point for blogging. I am OK with being required to show ID to a PO when asked. My brother in law was not OK with this idea and refused to ID himself and got arrested and went to jail.

    I do not think its to onerous to ask people out in public, driving around ETC ID on them. I am sure you can then bring up say swimming or jogging and I am sure that we can all agree that its unreasonable to ask somebody out jogging to carry ID.

    So we fall back on PO’s seeing susp behavior and then asking for ID’s. This is what cops do all the time. I went out with a cop once for a shift and they asked everybody they felt was suspicious for ID.

  102. 98–AZ resident,
    Are you saying that the church knows that bishops and stake presidents are felons or have done things worthy of excommunication but still allow them to be bishops or stake presidents? Do you have evidence of this?
    I don’t know about illegal immigrants being bishops and stake presidents, but I do know that the church knowingly sends out illegal immigrants as missionaries. The church can–and does–send out illegal immigrants as representatives of Jesus Christ.

  103. I went out with a cop once for a shift and they asked everybody they felt was suspicious for ID

    And you’re okay with that? This seems like entrusting a lot of power and discretion to police officers. I thought that we were supposed to harbor a healthy distrust for any and all governmental power, especially that power held by local police over people’s lives. Hence the Bill of Rights and robust SCOTUS caselaw defending those rights against constant and often egregious abuses by the police.

  104. I don’t really care for French gardens.

    I don’t believe you. Can you provide documentation to support your assertion?

  105. AZ Resident,
    Seriously. Your comparison of illegal immigrant status and “felonies” or excommunicable offenses is not going to convince anyone, because the people you’re debating right now (including myself) know people who have been called as Bishops DESPITE the fact that their priesthood leaders knew they were illegal aliens. Unless you can find me some examples of felons being called _with full disclosure to their priesthood leaders_, then that is dead in the water.

    As far as the PFS article is concerned, you really need to read it again, and consider the context it was given in. You can get a better idea of that here:

    However, the article cited in this post should really be sufficient:

    “We’re not agents of the immigration service, and we don’t pretend to be,” apostle Jeffrey R. Holland told The Salt Lake Tribune recently, “and we also won’t break the law.”

    To that end, the church sends missionaries among undocumented immigrants, baptizing many of them without ever asking about their status. It also allows them to go to the temple and on missions.

    “The blessings of the [LDS] Church are available to anyone who qualifies for and accepts the gospel of Jesus Christ,” LDS spokesman Scott Trotter says. “Federal law allows undocumented persons to provide volunteer church service, including missionary service, within the United States.”

    Here you have statements from the Church spokesman, Elder Holland, and a summary statement of prior statements written by PFS, all of which make it extremely clear that the Church does not enforce immigration policies. Being a missionary requires a temple recommend. Holding a temple recommend requires meeting every standard of righteousness that God has, through His chosen servants, determined to be proper.

    If you have a problem with undocumented immigrants, you can absolutely oppose their presence and favor legislation that restricts it; but you cannot cite the current policies of the leadership of the LDS Church to support you, because they are actively ignoring it.

  106. bbell,
    I think maybe we’re talking past each other. Police officers certainly can ask people they stop to produce ID; to the extent people comply, more power to them. However, I sincerely doubt that, except in AZ, you can be arrested for saying, “I’m sorry, but I’m not carrying any ID.” Unless, of course, you’re driving.

  107. It will take more than carrying ‘papers’ for ID. Here in LA, I can get those ‘papers’ for about $100 on the corner.

  108. I should also say, just because the police arrest somebody doesn’t mean they could legally do so. A couple years in New York, at the Republican National Convention, the police arrested a couple thousand people (IIRC). The courts later held that the arrests were illegal. I don’t have any way of knowing if a significant portion of arrests are illegal, but it certainly isn’t out of the question that a police officer arrests a person illegally.

  109. Apparently the simple act of being Bob Dylan is reasonably suspicious behavior in some circles. Of course I can’t fault them, I don’t trust the guy either.

  110. Scott, good point, innocent until proven guilty, even if you don’t have your ID on you when on your morning constitutional.

  111. #98, since Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are enshrined in the Declaration of Independence as sovereign rights of all mankind, it’s clear that all persons are entitled to all of the three. Perhaps you feel differently. I suggest you take it up with the Founders.

  112. 99 Scott B – LOL, I wrote this and remembered you live in Irvine, so I knew you’d give me grief over the Irvine stereotypes ha ha. It’s a generality, which I know you don’t fall into. I’d say the same of MV folks. I don’t think it’s that people think to themselves or say, “I don’t want Mexicans going through my city.” I think it’s more like, “I don’t want criminals going through my city, [subconsciousness takes over right here] and illegal immigrants are criminals.”

    98 – AZ Resident. The answer to your loaded question is “Yes, I do.” The person who has the best claim is a human being, free from silly and unnecessary social-constructs like US’s immigration laws and SB 1070. Your question is premised on your belief that current US immigration laws are acceptable. So you assume the moral/legal/civic high ground because you fall on the side of complying with current immigration law as it is written. But have you asked yourself whether that the US immigration laws are acceptable? Are they “good”, “fair”, “working”, “beneficial”, etc.? I think the answer is no; otherwise it wouldn’t be such a national issue, right?

    So the long and short is that the US’s immigration laws are bunko right now and need serious attention to be workable, fair, beneficial, etc. Don’t hinge your moral and civic compass on an existing law. There are many stupid, outdated, and unworkable laws. Boggs signed the extermination order into law; did Missouri citizens have a better claim on the pursuit of life, lib, happy as a result?

    Look, as a Californian, I’m not happy about abuses of public resources (by people here legally or illegally) that I, as a tax payer, have to pay for. But resource abuse is where the problem lies–not with people’s desire to pursue a better life by merely living and working here. Resource abuse is theft. Migration is freedom. People migrate here because their body is free to do so, and they want a better life. I suspect both you and I are here as a result. If AZ people are upset about resource abuse, non-payment of taxes, etc., then address those systemic failures instead of making ridiculous laws like 1070.

  113. Peter LLC says:

    Irvine residents don’t want Mexicans driving through their city.

    Pop quiz for Irvine residents: In what country was your mayor born and raised? Extra points if you can find it on a map.

  114. Steve, obviously the Declaration of Independence means that only American citizens are endowed by their Creator with those inalienable rights. Illegal aliens have alienated them.

  115. Pop quiz for Irvine residents: In what country was your mayor born and raised? Extra points if you can find it on a map.

    Objection, lacks foundation. I don’t even know _who_ our Mayor is.

  116. Peter LLC says:

    Well, he’s not Mexican, but he is an IMMIGRANT!!!

  117. Austria?

  118. South Korea

  119. AZ Resident says:

    It’s clear that I phrased certain portions of #98 inartfully. Were I to restate, I would ask “As between someone who follows the legal procedure to enter this country, and someone who crosses the border illegally, do you feel one has a better/stronger claim (moral, legal, or otherwise) than the other to benefit of the resources available here in the USA? If so, why? And if not, why?” This was answered, in part, by 112.

    I’d take the position that, given that the resources in question are finite, that the lawful entrant has the better claim. That being said, I believe it is my responsibility to be a good steward of the resources I have control of, and to use them for the benefit of my fellow man. This includes generous, voluntary contributions to the Church and many other charitable and developmental organizations. Perhaps 112 has sharpened the focus of the inquiry by noting the related underlying issue of resource abuse / theft.

    105 – In case I have not been clear before, I am not attempting to cite the position of the Church to support enforcement of immigration laws, but rather to note that the Church does not support the opposite side, as some others have claimed. As you noted, instead, they are actively ignoring it.

    To your related point, if you personally know people called to the callings indicated, and they were called with knowledge of their immigration status, then the point is conceded.

  120. AZ Resident,

    the Church does not support the opposite side, as some others have claimed. As you noted, instead, they are actively ignoring it.

    See, that’s where we (I am one of those “others”) are not making ourselves clear, evidently.

    “Ignoring it” is _precisely_ the “opposite side” of this argument! One side wants to set up laws, and the other side wants to ignore the status of a person who lives in the US illegally.

    The Church is ignoring the status of immigrants, and so am I. Arizona is not. It’s really pretty simple.

  121. AZ Resident, it’s too bad then that you didn’t phrase things that way in the first place. Oh well.

    You let me know what the illegal immigrants are stealing from you, but even if they’re not really stealing directly from you I say you are still doing well to pull them over for looking Mexican and detain them while you demand in a cheerfully Aryan tone for their papers. It seems to me we ought to go further in the protection of our precious resources. I for one sleep better at night knowing faithful stewards like yourself stand guard at the tower, sniper rifles in hand, ready to kill illegal immigrants to keep them from resource abuse / theft. Feed their bodies to the coyotes, I say! Let your thirsty bullets ring out to the benefit of your lawful entrants. Your generous, voluntary contributions to the Church and many other charitable and developmental organizations will surely more than account for any uncharity you have towards those miscreant unlawful entrants.

  122. You want AZ Resident on that wall! You need AZ Resident on that wall! YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

  123. AZ Resident says:

    120: Clearly we disagree as to what constitutes the “opposite”. I would say “enforcing” is one side, “promoting violation” is the opposite side, and “caring not a whit either way” (how the Church appears to be positioned) is the middle. But the point is a semantic one at best.

    Allow me to inquire further. Do you feel that those members of the church who support enforcement of existing immigration laws are out of harmony with the Church?

    121: The loaded and derisory language you use isn’t helpful in this discussion, nor does it accurately or fairly characterize any position I have taken in this thread. The 1837 letter previously posted is instructive – America simply cannot accommodate all the needy in the world, and thus a system that does things, worldwide, in “wisdom and in order” would appear to be the best approach. Rational minds can and do disagree about what such a system would be, and to what degree the current system approaches it. I thus disagree that an opinion that existing laws in this area should be followed until changed makes me uncharitable.

    That being said – being a person who narrowly avoided the dozens of AK-47 bullets fired from the bed of a pickup truck (by various coyotes A) into the passenger van loaded with people formerly being smuggled by coyotes A, and now kidnapped by and being smuggled by coyotes B (all in the middle of rush hour traffic in the suburbs), leading to a multi-vehicle crash and numerous fatalities – my perspective on the effects of a porous border may differ somewhat from that of a Canadian now residing in Seattle.

  124. Allow me to inquire further. Do you feel that those members of the church who support enforcement of existing immigration laws are out of harmony with the Church?

    I believe that anyone who allows an arbitrary line on a map to determine how they treat another is out of harmony with the spirit of what the gospel, and the Church, teaches. Interpret that how you want.

  125. AZ Resident says:

    124: Fair enough – though from my perspective, while what you posted is a pleasant statement, it isn’t responsive to the question.

  126. John Mansfield says:

    “And now, verily I say unto you, that as every elder in this part of the vineyard must give an account of his stewardship unto the bishop in this part of the vineyard—A certificate from the judge or bishop in this part of the vineyard, unto the bishop in Zion, rendereth every man acceptable, and answereth all things, for an inheritance, and to be received as a wise steward and as a faithful laborer; Otherwise he shall not be accepted of the bishop of Zion.
    “A few words in addition to the laws of the kingdom, respecting the members of the church—they that are appointed by the Holy Spirit to go up unto Zion, and they who are privileged to go up unto Zion—Let them carry up unto the bishop a certificate from three elders of the church, or a certificate from the bishop; Otherwise he who shall go up unto the land of Zion shall not be accounted as a wise steward. This is also an ensample.”
    —D&C 72:16-18,24-26

  127. #123 – Regarding your last point. The easiest way to avoid the criminality and violence associated with illegal immigration is to simply cease making it illegal. E.g. the end of prohibition.

  128. 123
    That being said – being a person who narrowly avoided the dozens of AK-47 bullets fired from the bed of a pickup truck . . . my perspective on the effects of a porous border may differ somewhat . . .

    I’m sure it does. The circumstances which could lead to this kind of a scenario playing out is created BY our current immigration policies. Would stricter legislation somehow lead to people trying to enter the US through more peaceful means? Or is it possible that it will only get more bloody?

  129. “Do you feel that those members of the church who support enforcement of existing immigration laws are out of harmony with the Church?”
    In my opinion, if that enforcement includes deporting LDS missionaries and bishops, then yes, I would say those who support such actions are out of harmony with the church.
    Or do you support the deportation of LDS missionaries?

  130. AZ Resident says:

    127: That’s a common position I hear. Do you advocate the same for certain substances currently controlled (cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, etc)?

    128: I thought I have made it clear that I think it should be EASIER, not harder, to come to the USA legally. That being said, I think the law should be enforced as is (not made harder) and should be continued to be enforced once immigration is easier.

  131. Steve Evans says:

    John M., surely you’re aware of the vast misapplication of that scripture here. The certificates of which you speak were not proof of U.S. citizenship or anything like that at all.

    AZ Resident, thank goodness you survived the horrible violence of those surely-illegal surely-immigrants.

    I guess your perspective is a little different than mine, since I live in Seattle. For example, I’m not a racist xenophobe who wants to gun down illegals from a watchtower with a sniper’s rifle.

  132. psychochemiker suggests that SB 1070 might reduce crime. That’s just slightly less evil than Russell Pearce’s characterization of all undocumented immigrants as criminals–which is not part of Arizona law. Neither statement is true, and study after study show that crime rates among immigrants (whatever their immigration status) are lower than rates among the native born population.

    Another great falsehood that rears its head over and over again is that immigrants (again, without reference to their immigration status) are a net drain on national wealth. Again, that is simply not true.

    That there are difficulties in Arizona because of the current state of immigration law is certainly true–but it’s largely a mess arising not because of immigration, but because of the idiocy and randomness of the immigration laws. Almost anyone anyone (except Steve Evans’ kids) who says: “let them come legally, like my ancestors”, is lying–until the imposition of the national quota system in the 1920s, the only thing you needed to do to come legally was pay your passage and not be a whore or a lunatic or, later, Chinese, or other Asian, or later, have certain communicable diseases. And anyone who says, “let them go back home and get in line with everybody else” ignores the effects of IIRIRA (a particularly execrable piece of legislation Congress passed in 1996), including the lovely 10-year bars on re-entry and the wonderful effect that has on dividing families consisting of both citizens and immigrants. And also ignores the fact that, practically speaking, there is no line to get onto.

    If those proto-federalists in Arizona really wanted to solve their problem and tweak the federal government (while acting like decent human beings), they’d issue a state i.d. to anyone who wanted to work, and provide assistance to people who have crossed the border and are dying of thirst in the desert. They’d provide English instruction, and assistance in finding housing and other services. They’d tell the Feds that they could arrest the entire state for violating INA Sec. 274 (for harboring/transporting those not here legally) or 274A for hiring in violation of the statute. It’s inexcusably mean-spirited and inhumane, to say nothing of cut-your-nose-off-to-spite-your-face foolish, to take the action they have.

  133. oops. make that “not” in the first para “now”

  134. AZ Resident says:

    131: I think the hostile and perjorative language you display in response to those who differ from your opinion says far more about yourself than anything else.

    Perhaps you might be interested to know that I am 50% Mexican and 50% Italian. In light of that, I’m all ears as to how you can assert that my position is a racial issue.

  135. 130 (in re: to 127)
    I for one would legalize marijuana, since it makes no sense to make marijuana illegal, and legalize alcohol, and I have no problem with alcohol being legal. Of course I think marijuana is much less harmful than hard liquor – crazy, I know. But this isn’t the topic of the post /threadjack
    As far as the rest, are you trying to say that illegal aliens are controlled commodities? One of those has a soul, in case you’d forgotten.

  136. #99: “Irvine residents don’t want Mexicans driving through their city”.
    Irvine is the corparate headquartes of Taco Bell. Do they have to walk to work?

  137. AZ Resident says:

    129: It seems that, through his mysterious ways and in his own time, the Lord inevitably opens doors for lawful missionary work around the world. I’ve found D&C 58:21 to be instructive for me personally as a general operating principle.

    However – you’ve raised a good point. Many of my friends are not in this country lawfully. Many were brought here when they were infants, and have no memory of living elsewhere. They are Americans, simply put. How should the system distinguish between them as opposed to the adult who crosses illegally and is soon after apprehended? Clearly the situations are vastly different, but how to handle it is a thorny issue…

  138. AZ Resident says:

    135: No, I’m not. I’m simply saying that there can be parallel effects, regardless of what is prohibited (e.g., prohibition of X generally leads to an underground market of X and trafficking in X). People who are trafficked by coyotes are victims and suffer in so many ways. Ever seen the conditions inside of a drop house? I have.
    This thread has been very enlightening. I’m not surprised at the passion over the issue, but the demonizing of those who disagree with the herd mentality has certainly been surprising, especially for a site supposedly dedicated to civil discourse.

    ” racist xenophobe who wants to gun down illegals from a watchtower with a sniper’s rifle.” Seriously? Language like this gets a pass around here?

  139. perjorative?

    AZ Resident, obviously you have risen above race.

  140. AZ Resident says:

    139: You know as well as I do that race and cultural background are a part of each of our lives, every day. For better or for worse, it informs our thinking and our decision making process. I am no different. On this topic, however, my conclusions are separate from that issue. Ironic, as my conclusions are probably against my self-interest as an AZ resident given the distribution of melanin in my skin.

  141. AZ (138),
    The “herd” you are referring to is…what exactly? A handful of people on a Mormon blog? What about the “herd” of people celebrating the passage of this law?

  142. especially for a site supposedly dedicated to civil discourse.

    Dang it Steve, I swear I am going to take down that stupid “About” link, or at least change the text. It is the single most abused piece of writing on our entire website.

  143. Steve Evans says:

    LOL, Scott, fair enough. I admit that I am using outlandish rhetoric here to make AZ defend his positions a little more vigorously. I think his recent comment regarding the new law being against his self-interest is probably the most interesting thing so far.

  144. AZ Resident says:

    141: Plenty of herds to go around, as you noted. But members of the herd you reference do not appear to be posting here; additionally, the inflammatory language in this thread appears to be consistently coming from one side. Just my opinion.

    139: Thank you for catching the typo. I’m sure its presence negates any reasonable point in the post that contained it.

  145. Steve Evans says:

    #144 — yes. typos do entirely negate any point you were trying to make. Forever.

  146. John Mansfield says:

    Steve Evans, yes, that part of the Doctrine and Covenants deals with the Saints gathering to the stakes of Zion. If Pharaoh wishes to imitate that order in the establishment of his kingdom, it may perhaps be a wise, just way to judge. It also illustrates that distinctions are sometimes drawn in scriptural commandments regarding who should live where and when they may move. If gathering to Zion should be done “not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence,” perhaps it is not a cruel, unrighteous restriction that not every single person can move to any nation of his choosing.

    How does your native country do it, Brother Evans? Canada is a prosperous land, welcoming to immigrants, but it would in short order be overwhelmed if that portion of the earth’s billions who think it much better place to live than their present homes were given unfettered entrance. The U.S. could probably learn something from Canada about controlling immigration.

  147. AZ Resident,
    The reason the other herd is not posting much is because BCC is a well-established liberal monolith. Just kidding. Sort of.


  148. AZ Resident says:

    145: Thanks, going forward I will conduct myself accordingly :)

  149. Also, AZ Resident,
    Don’t get too worked up over inflammatory language from Steve Evans. Just make a crack about him being short and he’ll scamper away in tears.

  150. The only thing Canada does to control immigration is to simply be Canada! (No offense intended to my son-in-law, my wife (a former and now revived Canadian) and my five children who one day two years back woke up to discover that they had magically become Canadians overnight.)

    But, seriously, John M., what does Canada do? Nothing. There’s just not much demand.

    Of course, if we become a total police state, as SB 1070 would have us do, we might just become the new Soviet Union, and make this land a place where nobody wants to go. (Did the USSR have a problem with people who wanted in? The only willing wannabe immigrant–besides Paul Robeson–that I can think of was Lee Harvey Oswald. Them Russkies did have the immigration problem solved, though.)

  151. Steve Evans says:

    John, sure — general principles of order are in the D&C, no dispute here. I was referring to the certificates you cited, specifically.

    Regarding Canada’s enormous success with immigration, what can I say? We are a secretive people. Our ways are not for you to know (hint: we deliberately don’t border Mexico). Still, let’s not be so limiting. I would think that the United States is not the sole nation that could probably learn something from Canada.

  152. AZ Resident says:

    149: Excellent. Steve E, I’m just north of 6’2″. Please don’t feel bad if I feel superior as I “look down” on the source of your posts.

  153. Steve Evans says:

    AZ, please don’t feel bad when I ban you.

  154. AZ Resident says:

    Indeed, I promise not to – though such an approach to dissenting voices seems to be – in conventional wisdom – more associated with the herd at the other end of the spectrum. Perhaps the title of the original post holds more truth than I thought.

  155. Scott re: 153

    See what you did? You must feel some guilt for leading him into that trap.

  156. Uh-oh.

  157. nevermind, thought he’d been banned.

  158. B. Russ,
    I knew what I was doing. I didn’t expect to be discovered so quickly, though.

  159. Mark Brown says:

    John Mansfield,

    Yes, you caught me. The state where I now live has the greatest percentage of native-born residents of any state in the union.

    But wait. We also have almost the highest rates of crime and poverty, demonstrating that it is not immigrants, legal or il, who create these problems, but native born ‘Merkin citizens. So your letter from the bishop in Kirtland has no bearing on the question.

    Tell me, please. The state of Texas has more twice, TWICE, the percentage of foreign born as Arizona. How in the world do they manage to keep law and order and still have a prosperous state?

  160. The state of Texas has more twice, TWICE, the percentage of foreign born as Arizona. How in the world do they manage to keep law and order and still have a prosperous state?

    Mark, duh, don’t you know? If you read the above comments you’d learn that it’s because TX is already the kind of police state AZ is trying to become, complete with law enforcement agents who can demand identification papers from anyone they reasonably suspect of maybe having committed a violation of civil or criminal law. In Walker country, that’s just called law and order.

  161. Express Lane on Death Row.

  162. Mark Brown says:

    Brad, I keep waiting for everybody to tell me that being forced to carry ID with you everywhere is a violation of free agency and therefore just an extension of the war in heaven and part of Satan’s plan. But maybe government coercion only rises to that level if it involves money.

  163. Now, now Mark–
    You’ve got the libertarians on your side with this post and thread–so don’t go tossing out comments like 162 too easily or we’ll turn nasty.

  164. I saw the Nasty Libertarians last year at Lollapalooza, they put on a great show!

  165. John Mansfield says:

    “So your letter from the bishop in Kirtland has no bearing on the question.”

    And your sketch of Nauvoo settlement tells all anyone ever needs to know about the Saints and migration. Got it.

  166. Mark Brown says:

    John, sorry to offend. At first I thought your citation of that letter was meant to support my claim that the saints were destitute, since at that time on the thread, at least one participant refused to believe it.

    But unless you are drawing a direct connection between immigration and poverty, I just don’t see that the letter tells us anything. I’ve provided plenty of counter examples of states with higher rates of illegal immigration than Arizona which appear to be prospering (TX, CA, MA, NY, NJ, FL). And I’ve provided at least one example of a state with very little immigration which struggles mightily with crime and poverty. You have chosen to ignore all that, so I just don’t know how to engage you any more.

    Finally, you seem to think that a ratio of 8/1 citizen vs. immigrant justifies extreme measures, but you then reject and ridicule my argument that a ratio of 1/10 citizen vs. immigrant was the source of a lot of problems. I honestly cannot tell what you are trying to do here.

  167. John Mansfield says:

    By the way, since it is generally recognized that those favoring restrictions on immigration do so for reasons of racial animosity, be it known that it’s not the Mexicans I’m worried about. If we begged them all to move north, at most the Mexican-born population in the United States would double or triple.

    It’s the Indonesians that worry me. There are a over 200 million of them, and for now only 82,000 are in the United States. Thankfully, we have as our president Barack Obama, a man who, according to his autobiography, was often attacked by Indonesian children because of his race and once thrown in a swamp, so we’re safe from the Indonesians at least until 2012, maybe 2016 if we’re lucky.

  168. Thanks for the responses (back in the 30s).

    As an aside, my buddy from the UK was recently detained (two weeks ago) by border patrol outside of beg bend national park in TX for not having ID with him. He was not arrested, but just had his father-in-law fax his papers over to them, and then was allowed to pass on. Also, I was once given a ticket for having no ID, but it was dropped when I went to court and proved I had ID. I wonder if this will be what happens in AZ?

  169. John Mansfield says:

    Mark, my point with the citations I’ve put up is that Saints experience of gathering included a sense of limitations. Though they might have wanted all to gather in one place immediately, the land and its people couldn’t bear it. The idea of order in the timing, including getting approval from leaders before migrating, and distributing the load over many places comes up a few times.

    Regarding the variety of migrant levels in the different states, I think the experience of high levels can play out many different ways, and as you point out, there are plenty of troubles a state can have with few immigrants in sight. A strong case can be made that the Arizona law is not a great way to handle problems with immigration, but that should raise the question why Arizonans are reacting in such a way. The murder of that rancher seems to have triggered a feeling that matters are out of control and Something Must Be Done.

  170. And I have a client who was arrested on an Arizona warrant in New York, extradited to Arizona (with none of his personal effects which had been taken from him when he was arrested here), who made bail in Arizona but wasn’t released from the Yavapai County Jail because ICE put an immigration hold on him–because the ICE boys didn’t see his green card (which was among his personal effects that had been taken from him in New York), and they said, “Oh, we’ll find some reason to keep you here” so he sat in that jail for another week until I could get the ICE boys’ attention and get them to remove the immigration hold. You think that a little enforcement by Sheriff Arpaio and his folks won’t be a problem? They don’t even pretend to know what the immigration law says–unlike ICE whose job it is to know. But that kind of attitude is enough–and it’s time for a thousand of us to go to Arizona and refuse to produce I.D. and clog the jails and the courts and then let the fools in the statehouse who passed this vile law be the butt of the derision of an entire nation.

    Congratulations, Arizona. Georgia had its Lester Maddox, and Alabama its George Wallace, Arkansas its Orval Faubus and now you have your Russell Pearce. In the hindsight of history your new law will be seen to be just as benighted as Wallace’s “Segregation today. Segregation tomorrow. Segregation forever.”

  171. Good thread to de-lurk. Mark’s OP was interesting, but wouldn’t it be a lot more apposite if the Mormons entering Hancock county had engaged in numerous kidnappings and killings of the county’s non-Mormon residents? I don’t live in AZ, but of the non-racist defenses put forth in support of the law, those are the things I’ve most commonly heard.

    The thread’s long enough and I’m mostly just musing out loud. But while I’m briefly here, I did want to add that the tone in Steve Evans’s comments really diminished the quality of this thread. Others noticed your attempts at civil discourse, AZ Resident.

  172. Mark Brown says:

    paul, your comment makes sense if immigrants kidnap or kill at higher rates than non-immigrants. But that is a dubious proposition, and in fact there is a lot of evidence that immigrants are more law-abiding than the population at large.

    And in my opinion, Steve’s comments were very welcome. When the Bill of Rights becomes expendable due to paranoia, fear, or just brain-dead stupidity, somebody needs to say so. There’s nothing civil about it.

  173. Mark Brown says:

    Just to follow up, here’s a statement analyzing the crime rate in Arizona:

    The crime rate in Arizona in 2008 was the lowest it has been in four decades. In the past decade, as the number of illegal immigrants in the state grew rapidly, the violent crime rate dropped by 23 percent, the property crime rate by 28 percent. (You can check out the DoJ figures here.)

    Full treatment here:

  174. Steve Evans says:

    Mark, thanks, but you don’t have to defend my comments. They were purposely outrageous and stupid. AZ Resident was civil, but his ultimate position was so bizarre that I didn’t feel the need to really engage him at all. That was probably not the mature thing.

  175. For those who think this is somehow about the rule of law…well…Bull Connors felt the same way about laws that required marching permits.

  176. I think that’s a fair point re: immigrants in the US at large, on average. I understand, however, that the rates of kidnapping and killing by illegal immigrants in border states, particulary in Phoenix, are indeed much, much higher than non-immigrants in similar locales. I attended a fairly in-depth DoD conference on this issue about two weeks ago, and there did seem to be a pretty accross-the-board consensus from the presenters – Mexican journalist/academic, Texas law professor, former US Attorney from NM, etc. (no identifiable political hacks) – that violence by Mexicans at the border and within the US is at elevated levels largely due to the intensity of the current drug wars in Mexico (many of the kidnappings in Phoenix are admittedly of other drug-war participants, but they nevertheless are being committed by those illegally here at increased levels). The solution to all this mess may well be something other than the AZ law (not trying to debate that issue), but I do think the excessive violence in AZ in particular diminishes the utility of your original comparison.

    I’ll agree to disagree on the second point. I think civil, or at least genuinely humorous, discourse does far more to persuade, at least in fora like this, than does condescension.

  177. Sorry, new at this posting on blogs thing – I of course meant my last comment (#176) in response to Mark’s #172.

  178. Welcome, paul.

  179. Paul, that’s not condescension. It’s outrage. And whether it persuades the Russell Pearce’s of the world isn’t the point.

    Nothing–from the non-violence of the marches and other protests led by Martin Luther King, Jr., to the Freedom Riders to the lunch counter sit-inners, to the firebrand rhetoric of the Black Panthers–persuaded the Lester Maddoxes or Bull Conners of the old South. But they bore witness, and that changed public opinion in the rest of the country.

    I don’t expect Russell Pearce to be convinced of anything that requires rational thought. He’s got the “fear of Shiz” in him, and I don’t imagine that anything will get it out of him other than what ultimately cured the Shiz-fearers.

  180. Mark, to be fair there was probably some condescension in there, too. But it was well-earned, and no more than Paul himself is dishing out. Fact is this law is an outrageous unconstitutional turd of law, and a stain upon all Arizona. If the whole state weren’t such a godforsaken drought-filled blight I’d be even more uppity about it. Every time I go to Arizona and see the golf courses in the desert, the strip malls stretching into the distance, the megasuburbs built for no one and the…er…. nonracist residents (Martin Luther King Day, anyone?), I think to myself, “now there’s a state that has no sense being there at all.”

  181. For those watching at home.
    Mark Brown – Rational Blogger at BCC
    Mark B.- irrational commenter at BCC
    Steve Evans- Joseph Stalin
    Chris H- Mao Zedong
    Scott B. -Closet Ron Paul Supporter
    AZ Resident- Arizona Player of the game “Resident Evil”

    As Another Anecdote, some of the little old Mexican ladies in our ward went to mexico to see their doctor (a common practice due to cost of health care) and were involved in a car chase in mexico with men with Machine Guns who tried to ambush their car. I think seeing a 70 old woman talk about how her older sister almost ran over a man with a machine gun and then drove over 100 MPH while being chased by an SUV with said man in it, only to be saved by making it to the border has got to be one of the most exciting parts of Fast and Testimony meeting I’ve ever witnessed.

  182. Stalin, eh? Matt you know how to sweet-talk an admin, I’ll say that much.

  183. Mommie Dearest says:

    #180: Just a minute there cowboy. I live here and I think Arizona has an amazing side (or 10) to it that obviously you’ve missed. But that’s another blog comment on another post.

    I want to point out that the low crime statistics cited hither and yon in these comments are all suspect when it comes to undocumented aliens in the US. They are loathe to report a crime committed against them, perps know this and target them. Often the perps are not US citizens either, but the crimes take place on American soil, predominantly in the border states. This is a huge problem for local law enforcement, and the federal government will not help or act, except if it’s in their own interest.

    The tragedy of this new law (your terminology about its constitutionality is correct) is that this problem with underreported crimes will only become worse, since it requires that when it goes into effect, all local law enforcement must investigate a person’s legal status virtually whenever they cross their path. In practice, this means that when investigating a crime, not only do they have to look into the status of the suspects, but also the status of the victims and any witnesses.

    And this is only one of many problems associated with this law.

  184. Matt W,

    Say what you will about me, but how dare you accuse Scott of being illiterate.

  185. I’ve been keeping track of this thread all day, and I am quite intrigued by all the various comments.

    First off, if you are in this country illegally, then, by definition, are you not a criminal? Last time I checked, a criminal is someone who has committed a crime, and you commit a crime by violating a law. Entering the country illegally means you have violated federal immigration laws. Never mind that the laws are stupid and need to be completely re-written. They are still the laws and, since the SCOTUS has not struck them down, we are supposed to honour the laws of the land. Basic civics right there. So I am amused at people protesting the assignation of illegal aliens as “criminals” – that is exactly what they are.

    What I think I am seeing here, really, is a call to civil disobedience. The laws are dumb, so we are going to disobey them to draw attention to their dumbness. Except that civil disobedience includes willingly accepting the consequences of violating the law. But that isn’t what I am seeing here. Instead, we have lots of people saying we should ignore the law and carry on as if the law does not exist. Well, gee, can I do that with every law that I find stupid? I am pretty certain that doing so would lead to chaos. Who gets to pick which laws are dumb and should therefore be ignored?

    I find the fact that Arizona felt a need to pass a law making it a criminal offense to break the law ridiculous. Why did this state find it necessary to do so? Is it because the federal government doesn’t provide any meaningful enforcement of their own laws? A law that cannot be enforced may as well not exist. Which just leads back to the original point that maybe, just maybe, we need to scrap what we have and re-write the laws in a way that can be enforced.

    So, what is the solution? Do we have a solution? Or are we just gathered here to moan and complain and point fingers, without coming up with a single viable option?

  186. “Or are we just gathered here to moan and complain and point fingers”

    I’m here for the hot babes, myself.

  187. Mark Brown says:

    paul, #176,

    …but I do think the excessive violence in AZ in particular diminishes the utility of your original comparison.

    You have a point, but only because I didn’t include the crimes with which Joseph Smith and his associates had been charged in Missouri. He was imprisoned in Liberty on charges of murder, arson, treason, and robbery. We might think those charges are bogus, but would you want somebody with those charges pending in another state moving in next door to you? In addition, there was the unsuccessful attempt on the life of the Missouri governor. There is no question that the LD saints in the 1840s had a reputation for crime and violence. We might object and say that the reputation was not deserved, but that is what was being said at the time. Also, please note, we all assume that the rancher’s murderer was an illegal alien, even though we don’t know for sure. So we really aren’t any better than the people who believed the worst rumors about Joseph Smith.

  188. nat kelly says:

    “Every time I go to Arizona and see the golf courses in the desert, the strip malls stretching into the distance, the megasuburbs built for no one and the…er…. nonracist residents (Martin Luther King Day, anyone?), I think to myself, “now there’s a state that has no sense being there at all.””

    Steve, I’ve accused you in the past of being overly harsh.

    But the above was undeniably awesome. Thanks for expressing the sentiments of so many so succinctly.

  189. See, nat? every once in a while it pays off.

  190. Mommie Dearest says:

    You guys really are philistines. :-p

  191. Thanks Scott B., I’ll occasionally try to contribute something useful.

    And thanks for the genuinely humorous background/homewatcher’s guide, Matt W.

  192. MD, don’t get me wrong, I like a good Arizona mexican joint, some good tortillas. When I was a younger, single man I noted that Arizona had some hot coeds. And I like golf! But apart from that…. gahhh. TS Eliot would have written an epic about Arizona.

  193. Matt W.,

    It’s pretty rare that I am genuinely offended on the blogs. Calling me a Ron Paul supporter gets pretty close. :)

  194. Mark Brown says:

    Alex, # 185,

    I think your definition of criminal could use a little more work.

    Earlier in the thread AZ resident asked the rhetorical question whether or not an illegal alien (and hence a lawbreaker) should be allowed to serve in the church as a bishop. It beats me, but I know that we currently have general authorities who exceed the speed limit when they drive, often and flagrantly. I’ve heard them speak about it publicly. The GA and the undocumented alien are both breaking the law. Why focus only on the immigrant?

    I also find it completely amusing when people get on their high horse about the law. Today I jaywalked, kept the extra quarter in change the coke machine gave me, and tore the tag off a mattress. Anybody who wants to look down his nose at lawbreakers on our southern border had better be prepared to show me that he has paid the FICA tax on the money he paid the babysitter last weekend. Otherwise he is a [shudder] lawbreaker and criminal.

  195. nat kelly says:

    I think there are conceptual problems with considering a person to be “illegal” because of where they happen to be at a given moment.

    Let’s not forget that Arizona would have been a part of Mexico if not for our overt, continental aggression. And the immigration laws of our country have changed so drastically over the past 100 years that it’s silly to consider one person a “criminal” for doing something people have been doing for forever.

    Laws are supposed to be based on higher moral/ethical principles. To think that someone could violate morality by existing in one place instead of another is ridiculous.

    It’s cliche, I know, but I am much more comfortable with the term “undocumented.” I don’t think it’s actually possible for a person to be “illegal.”

  196. john f: Under that natural law code, illegal aliens are endowed by their Creator with the ability to own property

    I am quite sure the Lockean conception of natural law includes the notion of national sovereignty. Isn’t that more or less a property right? Or should I ask: what is the difference in principle from the right of a private individual to regulate admittance to his home, and the right of a representative democracy to regulate admittance to its territory? If we deny the latter isn’t the former subject to question as well?

  197. when the bankruptcy laws were liberalized, their leader took advantage and immediately declared bankruptcy, thereby repudiating the debt on thousands of acres of land

    No one can repudiate a debt except a sovereign country. That is what bankruptcy judges are for.

  198. Mark Brown says:

    defaulted, then.

  199. Cynthia L. says:


    The Waste Land

    Unreal City,
    Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,

  200. nat (and Scott, because he said something similar earlier)- in all seriousness,and if this is taking you out of context, just call me Che Guevara, what about property rights? It’s all well and good to talk about arbitrary lines on maps and not considering people illegal based on where they are, but when that arbitrary line is my front door and they are in my house without my permission (I’m looking at you, in-laws!), isn’t that trespassing and thus illegal? Do you think all trespassing should be legal? For people who are idiots like me, how is trespass different than illegal immigration?

    Ultimately I’m just trying to see if I can have my sister-in-law deported to Arizona the next time she comes in my house without knocking.

  201. SB2 – high five for getting the reference.

  202. Private property vs. public property, Matt. That’s all.