PROVO – A Utah County Republican delegate may not be catching hell for calling illegal immigration a satanic plot, but he isn’t gaining any converts, either.
Utah County GOP Chairwoman Marian Monnahan says District 65 Chairman Don Larsen’s resolution – asserting that illegal immigration is the devil’s plan to destroy the nation by “stealth invasion” – “in no way” is endorsed by the Republican Party.
“It’s just free speech,” Monnahan said Thursday. “It’s Don’s right to do that.”
Provo Mayor Lewis Billings, a prominent Utah County Republican, says he understands Larsen’s frustration with the federal government’s slow response to immigration issues, but he doubts “there will be a lot of support for the resolution in its current form.”
Party faithful will get the chance to discuss Larsen’s resolution Saturday at the county’s GOP convention. Monnahan notes Larsen, not the party, paid to print and distribute 1,300 copies of it for the gathering.
Larsen, who did not return a phone call or an e-mail seeking comment Thursday, is urging the closing of national borders to illegal immigrants to “prevent the destruction of the U.S. by stealth invasion.”
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“In order for Satan to establish his ‘New World Order’ and destroy the freedom of all people as predicted in the Scriptures, he must first destroy the U.S.,” his resolution states. “The mostly quiet and unspectacular invasion of illegal immigrants does not focus the attention of the nations the way open warfare does, but is all the more insidious for its stealth and innocuousness.”
Members of Utah’s Latino community searched for diplomatic words to respond to the measure.
“It sounds like someone who is way out in left field, living in some fantasy world,” said Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino de Utah and former head of the state’s Office of Hispanic Affairs. “He is just an extremist, radical right-winger.”
Rolando Murillo, a volunteer for ACELA (the Latin American Cultural and Education Association of Utah), is startled that anyone would believe such a plot.
“Everyone can have whatever beliefs they want to have,” Murillo said. “In the state of Utah, we’re grateful that the vast majority of people do not embrace these ideas.”
Satan has popped up in Utah County politics before. Last year, failed congressional candidate John Jacob of Eagle Mountain blamed the devil for his flagging campaign.
Senate Majority Leader Curt Bramble, R-Provo, says he hasn’t yet read Larsen’s resolution, but he, too, expects it to fizzle.
“The majority of Republicans believe that illegal immigration is probably the most critical issue facing Utah today,” said Bramble, who will chair Saturday’s convention. “I don’t think there is going to be a great deal of people attributing the problem to Satan.”