The Deseret News has been all over the refugee issue, running a front-page story on an Ethiopian refugee family reuniting in Utah, another on "sanctuary cities" facing uncertain consequences, and then a local front story on Utah Syrian refugees giving thanks. So it was with some curiosity that The Salt Lake Tribune grabbed the front-page headline "Herbert: Utah needs to welcome refugees." It had to take some guts for the governor to buck the GOP right-wing that had managed to persuade Mormons to vote for religious exclusivism in a president. Of course, House Speaker and Trumpian Greg Hughes equivocates, saying the president-elect was just "inartful" and didn't really mean he'd ban Muslim immigration. Herbert was kind, and Maj. Brian Redd, director of the State Bureau of Investigation, was kinder. He has contacted some 1,026 refugees since February to help them settle in.
Then there's the bad news. President-elect Donald Trump warns that he'll pull federal funding from any city calling itself a "sanctuary city." KUTV's Heidi Hatch tried to get Salt Lake City to come out of the closet, but could get only something about it "looking like" a sanctuary city. Meanwhile, some two dozen cities around the country—Chicago, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore, Newark, N.J., and Providence, R.I.—have stood up against the potential federal immigration mandate. Maybe Salt Lake is running scared. Look how the Legislature treats it. Or maybe they read Breitbart News, which recently ran a refugee story that involved Philadelphia releasing a Dominican accused of child rape.
Conflicts of Interest
Now comes the rubber meeting the road. In other words, will Rep. Jason Chaffetz investigate the president-elect's ethical conflicts? E.J. Dionne Jr. in The Washington Post asks all the pertinent questions, noting that Republicans have been deeply concerned about "ethics in government and the vast potential for corruption stemming from conflicts of interest." Of course, that was during the campaign and they were talking about that nasty woman Hillary Clinton. Now they must be worried about foreign donations, Trump's business holdings, his lack of disclosure about his tax returns, which is something Chaffetz has said is important. Dionne calls it Chaffetz' "kimono policy," or an open-up-and-show-it-all policy. The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will be letting us know soon.