An Open Letter to Mitt Romney on Immigration

Dear Governor, a couple of months ago, my good friend and Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform Colleague Dr. Richard Land penned an open letter to Newt Gingrich. I would humbly like to take this opportunity to pen an open letter to you, sir.

First, there is no getting around the fact that while you and I have yet to meet, I think that I like you. You have many fine qualities that would lend themselves well to your presidency, should you be elected later this year. However, I also have to admit that I, along with what I assume to be the vast majority of our CfCIR coalition, do have some serious reservations about your policy on how to fix our undeniably broken immigration system. More specifically, I want to talk to you about your stated policy of working toward the "self-deportation" of our 11,000,000 undocumented or illegal immigrants that are, and have for some time, worked and/or resided here in the United States.

I want to suggest to you that I do not believe that you are "anti-immigrant." I do want to suggest to you that I would encourage you to think carefully on the human, economic, and geo-political consequences that your "attrition through enforcement" policy would have on this country, and on these primarily Hispanic immigrants. Now, I do share some common ground with you, in that I am strongly in favor of much stricter border enforcement, and I think that almost the entire country does agree with us on that point. Further, you are absolutely correct in your assertion that we will need some kind of mandatory E-Verify system for all businesses, as that will undeniably and vastly decrease the magnet of illegal immigration. However, when we start to talk about attrition through enforcement, our coalition - and frankly if polling is to be believed the majority of Americans - are not at all comfortable with that plan. It is precisely "why" we are uncomfortable with that plan that I am writing to you today.

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First, our coalition starts with values; American and Judeo-Christian values. When we approach the subject of how we are to treat the immigrant among us, even if they are here without documentation, we are extremely uncomfortable with any plan that, in essence, seeks to starve them out of the country. I know that sounds harsh. But Governor, let us speak plainly; at the end of the day, that is what your plan is really all about. Your plan, on the face of it, is to force these immigrants to leave because they will not be able to find work. And for the record, we are not just talking about grandmothers; we are talking about grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and children – many of whom are legal residents or citizens that are part of the family of the undocumented individual. Therefore, we are talking about perhaps 20,000,000 people or more. That assumes, of course, that you are not seeking to break apart families, and I give you credit that you are not intentionally or knowingly pursuing a plan that seeks to break apart so many millions of "mixed status" families in our country.

But to dig a little deeper into what you are talking about, you are suggesting that without the ability to work, these immigrants will self deport. I think that many will, and many will not. After all, they have nothing to go back to, Governor. They came to this country because their home country didn't afford them any opportunity when they left there, in most cases - perhaps in as many as 75% of the cases - over a decade ago. As Florida Senator Marco Rubio just stated, "I ask you what if you were them? Let me tell you, if I was there, there are very few things I would not do. There is no fence high enough; there is no ocean wide enough that most of us would not cross to provide for them what they do not have."

Senator Rubio is exactly correct. In fact, these immigrants, by being one of the relatively few residents of third world countries to actually take the initiative to do something about their plight, have shown what we used to call in this country "gumption." They have already demonstrated the can-do, get-up-and-go, dare I say "American Spirit" that our own ancestors had when they built this country. I think most Americans would also agree that these immigrants are hard working, family value oriented, and god-loving people. I would also caution you that while Florida has a large Hispanic population, their Hispanic population is made up of primarily legal immigrants or citizens from Puerto Rico and Cuba.

In the upcoming weeks and months, you will have to compete in primaries, and presumably general election votes in several key states that have much different demographic make-ups of their large Hispanic populations. Most notably, the voters in the states of California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada might look upon your plan for their own relatives quite differently, and much more critically than the state of Florida. However, and putting all practical arguments aside, lets get right to the heart of the matter. What does the "attrition" scheme really mean? It means that if were successfully able to withhold any means of employment from the millions of undocumented workers here in the United States, they would be faced with few if any viable choices. If they were to stay here, they would starve themselves and their families, and would be left homeless due to their inability to pay rent. They would wander around looking for work for as long as they could hold out, and then, faced with no prospects for survival here in the U.S., many of these good people would be forced to return, defeated, broke, angry, and with their tails between their legs back to their countries of origin, assuming that they could survive that difficult journey back, without any means to pay for it.

It's like condemning 20,000,000 hard-working and God-loving people to execution by a thousand small cuts. It is a slow and painful torture of humiliation, condemnation, the loss of dignity, hunger, helplessness, homelessness, desperation, and finally submission. Is this the America that we want? Is this the America that we have become? This plan is a scheme that would make the American Indian Trail of Tears seem like a casual stroll. America is a better country then to demonstrate intolerance and inhumanity. I would humbly urge you, as a serious candidate for president of the United States, to please show a little leadership by supporting a comprehensive immigration policy that can solve this problem in a compassionate and logical manner. Self deportation is not the answer that most Americans would be comfortable with, and it certainly is not the answer that all of America's religious denominations – including the Mormon Church – would approve of.

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