Archive for the ‘Utah’ Category

Mormon’s for Racial Profiling?
c/o Greg Moses for The Rag Blog (Austin)

What’s up with the Mormons? Orem, Utah legislator Stephen Eric Sandstrom last week pledged to follow the lead of “my friend” Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce and expand the number of states with show-me-your-papers bills aiming to criminalize, jail, and deport irregular migrants.

Rep. Sandstrom, who is a graduate of Brigham Young University and a former Mormon missionary to Venezuela, takes credit for co-founding a state’s rights organization called the Patrick Henry Caucus.

Sandstrom’s “friend” Sen. Pearce of Arizona, sponsor of the recently signed SB-1070, hails from the Mormon stronghold of Mesa and claims to be the mastermind behind Maricopa County’s infamous Tent City Jail.

For Pearce and Sandstrom, the crucial issue of liberty in the 21st Century would appear to involve the rights of states in relation to the federal government of the USA — never mind the rights of individual people who reside in those states.

What’s curious about this particular Pearce-Sandstrom movement for state’s rights over individual rights is how it seems to contradict the interests of the Mormon family itself, which has been witnessing an increase in Spanish-speaking congregations.

Last summer, Salt Lake Tribune writer Peggy Fletcher Stack reported increasing fears among Spanish-speaking members of the Mormon Church of Latter- day Saints (LDS) who were concerned about travel restrictions they were facing for missionary work and then-impending implementation of Utah’s anti-migrant law, SB-81. “People are very scared,” said one woman via translator.

“Other than for its missionaries, the LDS Church takes a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach toward the immigration status of its members,” reported Fletcher Stack. “But some estimate between 50 percent and 75 percent of members in Utah’s 104 Spanish-speaking congregations are undocumented. That includes many bishops, branch presidents, even stake presidents.”

Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank declared that Utah’s SB-81 would require illegal racial profiling, so he openly refused to enforce the self-contradictory statute. Last week Chief Burbank “blasted” Arizona’s SB-1070, telling KSL NewsRadio talk-show host Doug Wright: “This sets law enforcement back 30 to 40 years.”

Mormon Times columnist Jerry Earl Johnston shook his head last year in dismay over the unwisdom of the Utah anti-migrant legislation:

“I can only speak from my own LDS experience here, but I hold Utah lawmakers responsible for breaking up good LDS families and forcing young American citizens out of their native land,” wrote Johnston, predicting that victory would not reward the shortsighted anti-migrant forces.

“I could see these Hispanic brethren were going to win,” wrote Johnston. “I could see their faith, resilience and strength. They wanted to be in Utah more than Utah lawmakers wanted them out. They had weathered tribulations with good humor and without malice toward those who persecuted them.”

Meanwhile, in the Mormon stronghold of Mesa, Arizona, represented by SB-1070 sponsor Sen. Pearce, the number of Spanish-speaking LDS congregations had grown from five to 13 between 2002 and 2007 according to East Valley Tribune reporter Sarah N. Lynch.

Last fall, official LDS printing presses in Salt Lake City ran off an approved Spanish-language edition of the Mormon Bible — The Santa Biblia: Reina-Valera 2009 (Publicada por La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días, Salt Lake City, Utah, E.U.A.) — with an initial press run of 800,000 copies.

“It is one of the most significant scripture projects ever undertaken by the Church,” proclaimed a notice of Sept. 14, 2009, posted at lds.org. “The volume contains new chapter headings, footnotes and cross-references to all scriptures used by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Announcement of the volume was reportedly shared among “thousands of Spanish-speaking Latter-day Saints congregations.”

Mormon political leaders, like everyone else in today’s global economy, are confronting a real crisis in human welfare. Maricopa County in particular is a frontline disaster zone for the crisis in real estate values, mortgage defaults, unemployment, and revenue shortfalls.

“In Maricopa,” according to an April report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Q3 2009 unemployment, “every private industry group except education and health services experienced an employment decline, with construction experiencing the largest decline (-32.2 percent).”

Crisis reveals character. So when Mormon political leaders campaign for agendas of states’ rights according to Patrick Henry rhetorics of “liberty or death,” perhaps their Spanish-speaking LDS brethren can remind them that there are millions of people of goodwill in need of actual freedom-loving legislators in whatever state they have freely chosen to congregate and build up.

[Greg Moses is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com.]

The Rag Blog

BTC Exclusive – Language to HB 234, Utah’s state bill to opt-out of Real ID, was amended recently as a concession to gain Gov. Herbert’s signature. The amendment, authored by Senator Margaret Dayton, limited the state bill’s ability to prohibit all future national identity programs from consideration in the State of Utah. Future federal identity legislation, like the proposed Schumer-Graham bill to approve national biometric worker ID cards, would not be excluded from considerations in the amended version of the bill.

The bill, if passed as amended, would close the door on any future implementations or benchmark compliance movements in Utah. The issue of license benchmark compliances were debated during the bill’s passage through the House, according to sponsor Rep. Stephen Sandstrom. Citizens opposed to Real ID and similar legislations balked at some of the bill’s language, doubting the bill’s ability to stop incremental movements forward to implement the use of RFID and subsequent databases.

“There is nothing in the current [license] code to [move forward with RFID, databases], ” said Sandstrom, who says the bill would opt-out Utah of any future compliance with the Real ID Act, but not of future programs involving national identity.
License holders who possesss cards which comply in part with the Real ID Act program will not have to return to the DMV to get a different license once the bill is passed. For instance, Utah license holders with benchmark compliant bar codes won’t return to long lines to renew or replace licenses for new IDs without barcodes. Utah licenses with the barcodes also won’t be moved to the next step of being incorporated into a national to international database aggregate set forward by the Real ID program.

Associated Press – February 18, 2010 7:45 PM ET

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – State agencies would be forbidden from complying any further with the federal Real ID Act under a measure the Utah House has approved.

The move could mean that the state’s residents won’t be able to board airplanes or enter federal buildings in the future.

The Real ID Act was launched after the 2001 terror attacks to make driver’s licenses more secure, so that eventually all driver’s licenses would have several layers of security features to prevent forgery.

Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, an Orem Republican, contends those security features could eventually lead to the government tracking its citizens.

House Bill 234 was approved 68-3 on Thursday. It now advances to the Senate.

c/o Salt Lake Tribune

UTAH – House committee approved legislation Friday that would prohibit the state from complying with provisions of the federal REAL ID Act, a measure supported by both the American Civil Liberties Union and the Utah Eagle Forum.

“What [REAL ID] could ultimately lead to is a national ID card that could lead to all sorts of government tyranny if it goes too far,” said Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem.

The worrisome provisions include the addition of radio frequency chips set into the state’s driver licenses that Sandstrom said “could lead to tracking of movements of individuals and could be used to track the purchases of things such as ammunition and guns.”

Congress passed the REAL ID Act after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to impose uniform standards on state identification cards. The bill would not repeal the portions of the REAL ID Act that have already been enacted, including the requirement that residents provide a birth certificate to get a driver license.

A little more than a Twitter, but ….

Last month, the Utah House voted 68-6 to prohibit state officials from complying with REAL ID. A couple dozen states have passed resolutions protesting the federal Act, but the Utah law would have more teeth. If more states join, we might see a real confrontation with national policy.

http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Find-Freedom.htm?At=048336&From=News

Utah may defy feds on REAL ID

The state of Utah would thumb its nose at federal requirements of the 2005 REAL ID Act under provisions of a bill that passed the House on Thursday.

The mandate of the U.S. Congress, crafted by the Department of Homeland Security, calls for states to come into an initial level of compliance, including specialized photography to aid facial recognition software and the establishment of an accessible database, by 2010, with further requisites to follow.

Under provisions of HB64, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, the Utah Driver’s License Division would be prohibited from implementing the requirements of REAL ID — a move Sandstrom said many states have already made.

“Utah … would be joining 21 states that have done the same thing,” Sandstrom said. “This really is the framework for all kinds of government intrusion in our life.”

Rep. Bradley Daw, R-Orem, testifying in support of the bill told the body that complying with REAL ID was not a simple, or inexpensive, task.

“It is not a minor change to the driver’s license,” Daw said. “The quote is anywhere from $20-80 million … we should be able to manage our driver’s licenses the way we see fit.”