CACHE COUNTY – Congressional candidates Blake Moore of Salt Lake City and Darren Parry of Providence agree about the importance of many of the issues in their race to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop in Congress, but President Donald Trump’s border wall isn’t one of them.
“I believe that we must secure our border,” said Republican candidate Moore in a recent interview. “I’ve lived and worked overseas. I’ve been through all the red tape that’s necessary to live and work in another country. It isn’t too much to ask immigrants to our country to do the same.”
“Never, ever, in public nor in private, have I ever supported a border wall,” Democrat Parry has countered. “The wall is a racist representation of American colonization. As a Native American tribal leader, I cannot stand for such a thing.”
The so-called “Trump Wall” is a series of vertical barriers along the nearly 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico intended to prevent illegal crossings of that boundary.
At present, that barrier is not contiguous, but rather a series of fences and walls blocking convenient crossing routes that are connected by stretches of border covered only by surveillance devices monitored by federal agents.
When Trump took office in 2017, only about a quarter of the U.S.-Mexico border was blocked. Relatively little progress has been made since then, as the efforts of the Trump administration to extend the barrier have been stymied by litigation and disputes with Congress over funding.
While political controversy over the border wall has declined since the coronavirus outbreak in March, recent federal court rulings are expected to make immigration reform a hot-button issue in the upcoming general election.
Moore is an officer with the Cicero Group in Salt Lake City. His background includes experience as a foreign-service officer for the State Department and as an overseas business consultant.
Given that background, Moore sees securing our southern border as a necessary first step toward comprehensive reform of U.S. immigration policy.
“The border needs to be secured so that we can then move on to addressing a lot of other issues,” Moore explained. “Those include streamlining immigration policies to accommodate really talented, skilled workers that we need.
“I’ve hired some foreign nationals who have recently completed grad schools. These are really talented people who contribute both needed skills and diversity to our work force, but the process of hiring them is really cumbersome.”
As a former leader of the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation tribe, Parry sees the need for immigration reform as a humanitarian issue rather than an economic one.
“I do not believe in an open border immigration policy,” Parry has emphasized. “But I believe that we can protect our border and control human/drug trafficking through humanitarian efforts, not by further militarizing our borders.
“I believe in keeping (migrant) families together. We should retrofit Border Control stations and Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities to accommodate the increased needs of families and children seeking refuge and asylum in our country.”