Utah Takes on Immigration

 

The state of Utah has several immigration bills floating through its current legislative session.  Many of these bills were hard-nosed SB1070 type bills. However, according to the Texas Observer, Utah’s legislators are searching a more sensible solution.

 

Utah, “the reddest of the red states” according to the observer, has approved immigration legislation that the Observer claims could serve as a model for the rest of the nation. The Observer list five elements of the Utah legislation that make it model legislation for the country.

 

  • The law gives undocumented immigrants, who do not commit serious crimes and are working in Utah, documents that make them legal residents (The law still runs afoul of federal immigration laws, so the White House would need to give Utah special permission to hire undocumented workers). 
  • The law requires police to check the immigration status only of people arrested for felonies and serious misdemeanors (not for any violation as does Arizona’s law). 
  • The law states that any undocumented person who worked in Utah before May of this year (and their immediate family) can obtain residency documents if they pass a background check and pay a fine of up to $2,500. 
  • Utah’s Chamber of Commerce drafted and many civic organizations signed the “Utah Compact,” a document that calls for, according to the LA Times, “a focus on families and empathy in immigration policy, and using police to fight crime rather than enforce immigration laws.” 
  • The Mormon Church endorsed the Utah Compact 

While it may be debatable whether illegal aliens who have not committed a crime (keep in mind that a violation of federal immigration law is a civil violation, not a criminal violation) should be granted legal residency, it is certain that the Utah provisions are more protective of the Americans' fourth amendment than Arizona’s immigration law. As Texans we should all be supportive of legislation that restores law and order while protecting our Constitutional rights. However, the fact that the Mormon Church endorsed will carry very, very little weight in the Lone Star State.

 

 

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