Latino marches just the beginning
Sunday’s enormous demonstration in Salt Lake City was an impressive reminder of the democratic principles of equality and free speech on which this country was founded.
Interestingly, the bulk of those who participated are not, legally speaking, United States citizens. Nevertheless, like true American patriots, they held a passionate (and peaceful) rally for much needed reform of our current immigration laws.
From the unexpected attendance of about 25,000 marchers to their conscientious cleanup of the grounds around Salt Lake’s city/county building after the final rally on Monday, the protesters exemplified those throughout history who have forced government leaders to adhere to the high standards set forth by the nation’s founders.
Park City residents should be especially proud that their community was represented at the march by a large contingent of articulate, committed Latino workers and students. Their efforts to spur legislators into enacting more equitable immigration policies could ultimately benefit all of us.
Though local Latinos hold a variety of opinions about how current immigration regulations should be enforced, and how best to change them the demonstration in Salt Lake underscored a nationwide consensus that the current system is unjust. Furthermore, they made it clear that the legislation adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 4437) calling for harsher penalties for illegal immigrants is unacceptable.
Park City’s Latino and Anglo residents need to ensure the momentum begun this weekend continues. We need to demand federal legislation that increases work-permit quotas to reflect existing labor demands and that makes the process of obtaining genuine legal documents more fair and easy to understand.
On both local and national levels, we also must work to eliminate the legal and social inconsistencies that serve only to make immigrants more fearful of the law. That includes accepting false documents and paying workers off the books.
It is a daunting task, but the effort doesn’t end there. As long as Mexico’s economy is dependent on those who have left home to work in the United States, workers will continue to cross the border. So, just as we volunteer to help less fortunate countries around the world, Parkites should try to foster economic initiatives that could aid areas weakened by the exodus of productive workers to our own abundantly prosperous community.
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Jim Arnold of Jeremy Ranch writes that the community cannot continue to operate without a long-range plan for development.