United States Sen. Mitt Romney addressed the heavy topics of immigration, gun control laws and abortion laws during a town hall meeting in Weber State University’s Lindquist Hall on Aug. 27.
Since Romney’s election into the Senate on Nov. 6 during the 2018 midterm election, he has been holding town hall meetings across the state of Utah to receive comments and feedback from the public in regard to recurring significant and consequential issues.
A former U.S. Air Force pilot stationed in Laredo, Texas, a town directly on the U.S.-Mexico border, witnessed illegal immigration and smuggling first hand, the first topic amongst the audience, and said, “I saw planes fly across the border and drop packages onto waiting trucks and people crossing the Rio Grande river who were heading north.”
“How tall and how deep does a wall have to be to stop that kind of traffic from coming into the United States?” the former pilot said.
Romney supports most of President Trump’s policies in regard to people immigrating into the U.S. legally and stated that a wall would have some effect to reduce illegal immigration but not eliminate it entirely, thus new solutions are constantly being created.
To prevent large numbers of people from pouring into the U.S. illegally, Romney said the most effective thing that the U.S. can do is to establish a “mandatory E-Verify system,” which requires employers to validate their potential employees’ citizenship by providing their social security or green card numbers before they can be hired.
Romney made clear that when an employer disregards the E-Verify system and hires someone despite their lack of citizenship, the employer will be sanctioned and fined.
On gun control laws, President Trump is open to universal background checks, which would require that a background check be administered before any gun purchase or transfer, something that Romney is inclined to until he sees the final bill, but he fully supports the concept.
Romney supports the second amendment and said that it’s difficult to create gun laws on a national level because of the ongoing disagreement between the republican and democratic parties.
A form of gun control laws currently put in place are red flag laws, which “the federal government is not going to mandate,” according to Romney. Red flags laws, created at a state level, allow a person to petition the state court in order to temporarily remove firearms from someone who may be a danger to themselves or others.
Currently, there are 17 states that have red flag laws, Utah not being one of them.
“Washington is best to deal with the databases of gun control laws,” Romney said in his closing statement on gun control laws, “but laws related to the safety of our schools and regulations of guns are best managed at a state by state basis.”
In 2019, nine states have passed new abortion laws that would restrict a mother from having an abortion after a certain number of weeks into the mother’s pregnancy, Utah being one of them.
In Utah, a mother cannot have an abortion after 18 weeks into their pregnancy unless an incident such as rape or incest has been validated and reported to law enforcement or if the mother’s life is in danger. In Alabama, however, a mother cannot have an abortion if she finds that she is pregnant, regardless of rape or incest.
Romney is pro-life and is not familiar with any new Utah abortion laws being proposed by the state’s legislature and said, “I don’t know of any law that has reached the senate or has passed at the federal level related to abortion.“
With the possibility of new abortion laws in Utah, Romney “would prefer that we didn’t have abortion in our country at all, but we do,” he said, “but that’s a decision made by the Supreme Court, and I support the authority of the Supreme Court whether we agree with them or not.”
Romney is currently focused on removing and keeping the federal government off of Utah land, which is 70 percent public land. More control of it would allow the state to expand its disaster prevention efforts and reduce the risk of the spread of wildfires by better managing the forests.
The national debt crisis is also an issue that Romney is attempting to resolve. The U.S. spent roughly $4 trillion in federal spending in 2018 and taxed $3 trillion.
“Where did we get that extra trillion dollars?” Romney said, “We borrowed it from China and from others.” Future generations will have to pay the interest on the national debt if it continues to go up.
Romney will serve Utah in the Senate until the 2025 midterm elections and continue to make efforts to improve the current issues.