As a member of Congressman Chris Cannon's Immigration Advisory Committee I have recently had the opportunity of participating in the drafting of a comprehensive policy recommendation on immigration. This has been an unique and eye-opening experience. The compromise reached by the committee should be an example to policy-makers in Washington, D.C.
Before moving to Utah to practice law, I worked in Washington, D.C., both in the White House and at an executive agency. Though I interacted with many professional policy makers and bureaucrats in these positions, I have never worked with people as incisive and thoughtful as those who made up Congressman Cannon's Immigration Advisory Committee.
The committee consisted of representatives from the agriculture, construction, health care, education, and legal industries as well as representatives from non-profits and other charitable organizations.
The perspective that was added by each individual was invaluable. This wasn't a committee recommending solutions for other people's problems; rather it was composed of individuals who are genuinely affected by immigration policies on a daily basis. The committee's representatives of blue collar industries (agriculture and construction) were the most knowledgeable and conversant on the practical consequences of immigration policy. Members of the committee certainly knew the impact of the current laws and had a strong interest in workable and practical laws for the future. It was refreshing to replace Washington D.C. bureaucrats and talking heads with real people with real jobs who can identify real solutions.
I believe that hearing from the regular folks who deal with immigration issues daily and who have the greatest interest in a solution will lead to a deeper understanding for all Utahns. While committee members' experiences were vastly different and in many instances at odds with other members' experiences, it was heartening to see the committee come to a compromise on the issue.
We should expect nothing less from our professional politicians.