Letter: Hatch and Lee shouldn’t allow an immigration critic to dismantle Reagan’s refugee system

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Members of the Utah Senate praise U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, relaying their own personal stories with him from his 42 years in office, as Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018, is declared "Orrin G. Hatch Day." Hatch is the longest-serving Republican senator in U.S. history.

As a returned Peace Corps volunteer who strongly supports our nation’s efforts to assist families fleeing conflict and persecution around the world, I share your deep concern (Tribune editorial: “Lee and Hatch Should Stand Against Mortensen,” June 2) about President Trump’s nomination of Ronald Mortensen as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

As a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies, a conservative think tank, Mortensen has been one of the nation’s harshest critics of immigration reform and has engaged in visceral attacks against Republican senators John McCain and Marco Rubio, the Mormon church, and evangelical leaders for their support of these reform efforts.

Clearly, the nomination of someone so controversial is one more step in the administration’s effort to dismantle the public-private partnership that has helped countless communities such as Salt Lake City resettle refugees successfully since President Ronald Reagan signed the current Refugee Act into law in 1980.

Under Mortensen, we can expect to see the complete dismantlement of our system of refugee resettlement that our nation has developed, refined and strengthened over the past four decades. I only hope our representatives in Congress, including Sens. Lee and Hatch, will speak out to oppose this nomination and work to restore our nation as a champion of freedom and hope for refugees around the world.

Eric Goldman, Salt Lake City