I told you the other day, that the Trump Administration is putting up Utah resident and former State Department Foreign Service Officer, Ron Mortensen, for the top post at the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. The position requires Senate approval and this is the beginning of what lies ahead for Mortensen on The Hill.
There is nothing of major significance in the opinion piece by Holly Richardson (it is the same old stuff used against anyone with Mortensen’s views), but we learned a few more nuggets about the Mormon Church’s open borders viewpoint and its welcoming attitude toward Muslim migrants. And we learned more about Senator Mike Lee (once the darling of the conservative Tea Party movement in America).
From the Salt Lake Tribune:
The irony is thick. The very week that The New York Times published an opinion piece on “What Islamophobic Politicians Can Learn From Mormons,” Donald Trump nominated an immigration hardliner, Utahn Ron Mortensen, to oversee refugees and migration. As the Times piece points out, since 2015, 49 states have had Republican officials publicly attacking Islam. The one standout was Utah. Now, one Utahn with strong anti-immigrant positions could ascend to a position of prominence.
Mortensen has a long and vocal history of opposing immigration, especially undocumented immigrants. He has been writing anti-immigrant opinion pieces for more than a decade. He has castigated the LDS Church many times for its pro-family approach to immigration. In January, the LDS Church urged Congress to take action to prevent the deportation of “Dreamers,” or children who were brought to the United States without documentation. Mortensen criticized the church’s stance, saying that most “Dreamers” were committing multiple felonies.
In 2013, he called President Dieter F. Uchtdorf and other LDS leaders either naive or mean-spirited when Uchtdorf said President Barack Obama’s outline for immigration reform “matches the values of the Mormon faith” and included the shared values of compassion, family cohesion, respect for law and common sense.
The immigration “think tank” he belongs to proudly claims to be the nation’s only one “devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States.” It says right in its tagline that it is for low immigration, whether documented or not. It concludes that “current, high levels of immigration are making it harder to achieve such important national objectives as better public schools, a cleaner environment, homeland security, and a living wage.” It’s also been labeled a hate group for its anti-immigrant bent.
Mortensen asserts that Utah has “lost its moral compass” because Utah as a whole welcomes immigrants into our communities and sides with the tenets of the Utah Compact.
Mortensen and his ilk aside, Utah has a long history of supporting refugees.
Surprise or not, this move is outrageous. It is akin to appointing David Duke to oversee race relations or Karl Marx to oversee the free market.
Mortensen will need to be confirmed by the United States Senate. Both Utah senators can and should block this nomination. Senior Sen. Orrin Hatch has been a staunch supporter of ”Dreamers” and of the Utah Compact. Sen. Mike Lee did not vote for Donald Trump in part, he said, because he saw Trump’s travel ban on refugees from Muslim countries as an inappropriate “religious test.”
(As you know Trump handily won Utah in 2016 without Mike Lee!)
If you’ve ever wanted to “be the change,” here is your chance. Call the senators’ offices.