The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of The Davis Clipper.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that laws and justice should be “construed by the ordinary rules of common sense.” This wasn’t reflected in last week’s headlines.
I read of a Utah man who embezzled more than $1 million from two of his employers by fraudulently selling shares of corporate stock. He had been ordered by a judge to pay the money back (good luck with that!) and had received a stern and stiff penalty – one whole year in a federal prison. (Gee, I know men who served five times that long for selling a few joints to an undercover cop.)
Then I read of a Salt Lake man arrested for allegedly attacking an 18-year-old woman in the locker room in a college gym. Police knew the guy fairly well; he had a long record of drug and firearms violations and protective order/harassment infringement. Since this jewel was only 33 years old when arrested for the sexual assault, the law apparently has had a difficult time keeping him off the streets.
A short time in the slammer…Yes, sometimes justice can be a mere feather. Then, at other times, it can be a mean and hard-fisted hammer.
Take the case of Betty Ramos Castro. She came to Utah from Colombia some 25 years ago with the intent of getting married to a U.S. citizen. The marriage never took place, and, due to conflicting information about the citizenship process, she never became a citizen. In the harsh light of the law, the woman had overstayed her temporary visa by more than 25 years.
And what had she done during these 25 years? Oh, she hadn’t embezzled money from investors or engaged in drug-dealing or criminal stalking. Instead she held a steady job, paid her taxes, cared for a disabled son (an 18-year-old with cerebral palsy), and helped out her 86-year-old mother (a legal resident of the country).
Yet the federal government got its pound of flesh last week. She was hustled on an airplane and deported.
We can argue about the broken immigration policy. However, the majority of Americans approved of Pres. Obama’s executive order turning a sympathetic eye on working tax-paying “illegals” while focusing on deporting criminal elements. As Jefferson would have said, this makes total sense. Much of our economy depends on foreign workers but the “legal process” is too slow in allowing them entry. At the same time, our sense of morality should bring sympathy for those in Central America fleeing violence and poverty. The Pope understands this and so does the LDS Church.
Personally I (and I wager you, too,) would rather live next to Betty Castro than the sexual predator or the man bilking his neighbors through fraudulent stock deals. But despite a rallying cry from supporters like Mormon Women for Ethical Government, Betty received an injustice, not justice, while immigration authorities can only pat themselves on the back for breaking up a family (and probably passing expensive medical costs to the taxpayers).
One of the organizers of Mormon Women for Ethical Government said the deportation “goes against everything that is moral and humane and ethical in our nation.” Thomas Jefferson couldn’t have said it better himself.