Utah’s Immigration debate

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Going into this year’s legislative session, it was clear that immigration would be the hottest topic on the Hill. A plethora of bills were proposed that covered enforcement, E-verify, sponsorship, a couple of guest worker programs, driver privilege cards, in-state tuition and more.  Many of them were passed by the legislature.

It was also clear that the people of Utah were tired of the status quo and wanted legislators to work towards solutions by moving past the rhetoric on both sides. Almost all legislators did surveys before the session started and the results were fascinating. More than half of the people surveyed wanted stronger enforcement AND well over half – sometimes close to 90% – supported a guest worker program that included paying a fine, learning English and passing a criminal background check. In other words, they wanted a comprehensive approach.

Unquestionably, there were and are strident voices on both sides who want their option and their option only. Committee hearings were packed and lasted for hours. Rallies and demonstrations were held for and against both sides. Lawsuits are sure to be forthcoming. In spite of the tumultuous, even contentious process, Utah lawmakers were willing to have the debate and hammer out a unique, multi-faceted approach instead of abdicating their responsibility.

Indeed, one could argue that the only reason states are now addressing immigration is because the federal government completely refuses to act. Federal legislators trot out immigration rhetoric as campaign platforms once every 2 to 6 years, but propose no legislation, and refuse to work towards actual solutions. The legal immigration situation is broken beyond repair, yet the feds won’t strengthen our borders OR allow for reasonable, LEGAL immigration policies. Somehow they seem to think that if they continue to ignore the problem, it will simply go away.

Dealing with immigration has thus become the ultimate states’ rights issue. Utah decided to address the problem head-on and this session, we went to work on bringing some order to a chaotic, disorderly situation. We strengthened our enforcement, but we have also proposed a unique Utah solution.

SB 116 takes a look at the reality of 110,000 people living in Utah who are also in the country illegally. Since the feds refuse to act, our options are limited. We can continue to do nothing (as most states are doing) but let’s be honest – we cannot afford the status quo. We can do “enforcement only.” Or, we can work on something that allows people to work, that shares responsibility with employers, that requires background checks and health insurance and tells the federal government “Do your darn job or we’re gonna do it for you.”

Opponents of this bill argue that we should not pass a bill with a Constitutional note. The irony of conservatives arguing that we should not pass Tenth Amendment bills that poke the feds in the eye is not lost on the legislature – or on the general public. The “Firearm Freedom Act,” the “Food Freedom Act,”, laws on eminent domain and other land use policies, and even one passed last year that stated flatly that Utah would NOT implement Obamacare – all are laws the Utah legislature passed knowing there were Constitutional issues.

Opponents also cry “rule of law,” but most, if not all Americans agree that immigration law is broken. “Where’s the line” was a rallying cry this session so let’s ask – where IS the line? How much enforcement can you continue to force onto one group of people? Utah is known for limited government – why is it so different in this one area? How long do we continue to enforce bad laws? Laws existed that said you could kill a Mormon. Or that you must turn in a runaway slave. Or that if you had Japanese heritage, then you must live in an internment camp. Or even that you must accept Obamacare in your state…. When the “solution” proposed by some is to “round ‘em up and ship ‘em home” – or even worse – “starve them out”, most Utahns balk. Indeed, yet another recent survey of Utahns shows that 71% of the state – almost 3 out of 4 – support a state-issued work permit for undocumented immigrants if they have a job and agree to a criminal background check.

Some argue that this is amnesty. For many people – including this legislator – amnesty means that those here illegally are granted citizenship and have all rights and responsibilities of citizens. Nothing in HB 116 does that. Calling it amnesty does not make it so. One does have to wonder – what do you call it if Obama passes real amnesty? Amnesty redux? Uber-amnesty? Inflammatory rhetoric may get some people riled up, but doesn’t sway the majority of Utahns.

I voted for HB 116. I understand some of the arguments on the opposing side – and I believe some of them – but what I cannot understand is the level of fear and anger. The emails I have gotten from opponents have been ugly and threatening and it makes me wonder – when did love and compassion become bad words? When did reality become negotiable? And when did people feel like they could demand their pound of flesh – and a whole lot more – from other people?

I was not lobbied by anyone on this bill, but I did plenty of research and I talked to many people. I believe this bill is a humane, reasonable, states’ rights approach and meshes well with Governor Herbert’s admonition to work on principle-based solutions. The majority of county delegates who elected me were clear they wanted to see stronger enforcement AND workable solutions. HB 116 is not a perfect bill (and truthfully, there is no such thing), but it is a start. It’s a start to a difficult problem dumped in our laps because the federal government refuses to act. It’s a start to a dialogue with that government. It’s an assertion of our state sovereignty. And it looks realistically at people – real, living human beings – who have committed an infraction of the law to be in this land of promise.

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56 Responses to “Utah’s Immigration debate”

  1. Jason Williams Says:

    All those screaming “amnesty” over these bills are up in the night. Take it from a liberal who supports amnesty, these bills are not. They are conservative, more conservative than I would prefer, but I also have to admit they are responsible.

    You’re completely right, Holly, that the federal government only trots immigration reform out in campaign cycles, but no one has the guts to actually risk their political careers doing what would need being done to actually solve the issue.

    Not perfect bills in my mind, but I realize my personal politics don’t match the current politics of Utah. These bills do, and that should be supported.

  2. Marty Carpenter Says:

    Rep. Holly on the Hill,

    This is the most comprehensive, reasonable, well-thought-out commentary on this issue I have read or heard from any member of the Legislature. Thank you for your vote in support of H.B. 116. I hope your eloquence will help others to understand there are no simple answers to this complex issue.

    Marty

  3. Jeremy Manning Says:

    I’m a long-time lurker on your tweets and blog. This is an important enough issue that I figured I’d speak up.

    Thank you for your vote and especially for your clear, honest, and commonsense explanation. This bill isn’t a perfect fix for this issue but it is about as good as we can possibly get at this level. Nice work.

  4. Jason Williams Says:

    Jeremy!!! I’ve missed ya on the blogs man!

  5. Debbi Says:

    make sure they are insured for the hospitals, make sure they have car insurance for those drivers licenses, make sure they pay taxes for their kids to attend our schools, make sure they don’t live off of welfare unless they have put into the system fo years like Utah citizen’s have. Make sure they pay taxes like we do. Make sure they get that background check and if they have one drug issue show up, one child molestation, one rape, one assault with a weapon…they should not be allowed to stay. If you did this…you wouldn’t have a problem…they wouldn’t come here. But you will let them have welfare, free schools, drive without insurance, go to the hospital and not pay, they won’t pay taxes, they will take our jobs because they will work for less and companies won’t have to insure them, or pay taxes on them. We are trying to pull out of this recession, and we aren’t going to do it this way. It’s going to get worse. Our crime will go up and our jails will be filled with illegal immigrants that our meager tax dollars pay for, thos hard earned tax dollars that are supposed to put food on our table right now. We are struggling. My husband has a job, but it’s a smaller job than he has had in 15 years. We have no insurance…that too is a first in 15 years, he struggles just to keep this job and we barely make ends meet. We have one car, live in a shack, and we can’t afford to get my beater car legal. We are suffering and this is going to make our situation even worse. Holly, how can you do this?

  6. hollyonthehill Says:

    Debbi, you know I think you’re great. Did you read my post? Did you read the bill? Folks who have a driver’s privilege card must have insurance. Folks getting a guest worker permit will be paying taxes and must have health insurance so they stay off of Medicaid. They must have a background check and felonies – for drugs, rape, etc, and not only do they not qualify,they go to jail and/or get deported.
    Everything you listed, we’re doing.

  7. John Says:

    Well said.

  8. MW Burkett Says:

    For me, passing an enforcement-only bill FIRST would have been a much better solution and a much smarter message to send.
    It’s hard to believe such large numbers of Utahns are okay with a guest worker program but if that’s the case, a second separate bill with very specific conditions, for which those presently in the state illegally did not get any special consideration, would have to go home and legally apply to work here, might have been met with greater acceptance.
    Compassion does not trump common sense.
    It seems those of us who feel strongly about enforcement are being told, “Too bad. Take it or leave it. These people who are breaking the law are okay to stay”. Makes it difficult to feel that the next time an illegal alien kills someone in a drunk driving accident or commits some other crime, the legistlature will care. The message seems to be, “oh well” they are our “guests” so even though they’ve overstayed their welcome, it’s no biggie.

  9. David Says:

    Holly,

    Thank you for providing this candid and thorough explanation. My Rep, Becky Edwads, gave her explanation but it was a much less compelling explanation than yours.

    Thank you for supporting HB 116 and for coherently explaining why. As the immigration bills were makin their way through the House I was concerned early on that they would be too punitive and reactionary. I have been pleased with the direction they took and HB 116 is a big part of that. Let the ideologues scream about amnesty while the legislature responsibly deals with real humans and their real issues.

  10. Bronson Says:

    This is a meaningless vote. It will never stand up to the constitutional challenges that are sure to come. While it is admirable that the legislature is attempting to address the issue. It is clearly a federal responsibility, even if they aren’t keep their end up.

    More impactful to Utah is why you voted for HB477 and HB399 it seems that as a Representative you have shown a propensity to shut the public out of government through supporting bad legislation.

  11. Ted Says:

    I like Debbi am very concerned about this bill. I haven’t read it, but have heard that in some ways it gives a lot away. As a citizen who has paid taxes through the nose for years, I am tired of seeing some of these people living off of welfare etc. and I am continually told I don’t pay enough taxes. I DON’T want these people to EVER BE ABLE TO VOTE! They have scoffed at our rule of law for so many years and demonstrated that they have no respect for laws. I have been resigned to the fact that this was going to come down for some time now, but there limits to what I am willing to continue giving. Let all residents in this State pay their fair share of the tax burden. Then education and all the other needs will be taken care of. Thanks!

  12. Adam Gale Says:

    Please don’t forget that this allows ILLEGAL ALIENS to obtain work permits. Also, let’s not forget that the state has NO AUTHORITY to grant work permits or VISAS and is vastly overreaching itself here. You stated earlier that I wasn’t your constituent, my brother, and much of my family live in Eagle Mountain, Cedar Hills etc. I speak for them and they are just as upset that their representative in less than a month sold them out. You won’t be elected, and the only people supporting you are liberals, how sad.

  13. Jared Says:

    Holly is yet another conservative politician who says one thing before getting elected and then does another. First she ignores the state Constitution and illegally allows herself to become a state representative (her seat should be held by James Crismon). Then she goes off and supports this pro-illegal immigration bill that takes jobs away from American citizens. Thanks for nothing, Holly. You certainly won’t have my vote in the next go-around.

  14. Rob Says:

    Holly, Thanks again for your careful, thoughtful approach to this thorny issue. Thanks for not being swayed by the extremists on either side. Thanks for supporting compassion, as well as the rule of law. I support HB 116, and the Utah Compact. Thanks.

  15. Mike Says:

    Holly, I hear you on one point, we do indeed need to demand from Chaffetz, Bishop, Matheson, Hatch, and Lee, that they introduce a Federal Bill that makes progress here. You’re right, I heard a lot of rhetoric on the campaign trail last summer, now oddly, only Hatch has a bill on this topic, I believe.

    But while we’re working over our Federal delegation, Immigration remains my number one issue, even more than the economy…that’s why I supported Tim Bridgewater…I felt he understood this issue. For me, it’s about the rule of law and it’s about what our community will look like in 25 years. It’s about my worries as a Father; that my kids and grandkids will be safe, that this country provide for them the same opportunities that I have had. We can only have opportunity and safety IF we assimilate immigrants into our society at a rate we can manage the assimilation. HB116 blows the door open beyond our capacity to accept new immigrants.

    In my lifetime, we have already lost communities where I grew up. By lost I mean, the culture is gone, the safety is gone, and frankly the rule of law is gone. My memories of riding my bike a couple of miles to school are simply just memories….a kid can’t do that anymore. This is because the people that now live there came illegally and then subsequently did not adopt our history, culture, language, and respect for rule of law. We essentially handed over to our community to others. (I’m referring to many areas in So Calif.) There is a huge difference between making room for others in our communities, and handing our communities over to others. And by-the-way, here in Utah, we are losing West Valley.

    For me on HB116, compassion is not my first objective and that’s not because I am heartless, but it’s because I have vision for what these changes will do to our future…and right now, it’s does not look promising. Mike

  16. Mark Steele Says:

    Holly, I appreciate your effort to make sense of 116, it’s helped me firm up my resolve to support a comprehensive solution–like Rob, in the spirit of the Utah Compact. I’m an acquaintance, not a constituent (unlike Adam’s family in Eagle Mountain!)

    I see some of the mean spiritedness you mention spilling over to this comments section. Yes, I’m looking at you, Jared, Adam, and Ted (I haven’t read the bill, but I’ll condemn it anyway).

    And MW, have you ever heard of Rep. Sandstrom? His enforcement only bill was passed first, and Holly voted for it. Please pay attention.

  17. Krista Black Says:

    Holly, this is one challenging issue. The extreme solutions proposed (i.e. “round ’em up and ship ’em out”) would never work and we all have to be pretty clear by now that the Feds are morons on this issue. We, as the several states, have no choice to pick up the slack.

    The one point I would like to add: the reason Utah has the luxury of even considering this bill is because the Leg was not running panicked (literally running out of State) is because we are not bankrupt and fighting over scraps. Utah so blessed to be even discussing this and other solutions that I think will make Utah even more economically sound because we have been fiscally sound for a very long time. I do believe that Utah is very well-positioned to lead this issue and other tough choices like medicaide, pension reform and others sure to come. This immigration issue is tough, and we won’t know the outcome until we try. But the things we have tried here to tackle tough issues keep working so that leads me to believe we have some pretty smart solutions around here.

    To people who are worried about the economic impact: my position is that this bill will create economic helps for our state not hurts. It’s brilliant to ask the people here (even if illegally) to please fully participate, pay taxes properly and not be driven underground, get insurance, etc. If they are willing to jump the hoops the State has put into place here then they certainly will have applied to the Feds and failed, not because they didn’t play full out but because the Feds have an insurmountable system. Utah may as well be the benefactor of people willing to work that hard even within a broken system. I have met more than a few in that boat and would be honored to call them neighbors.

    Our neighbors may still be illegal to the Feds but isn’t that a joke anyway? We’ll all be illegal to the Fed shortly when we don’t play the Obamacare game – seriously, who is listening to the Feds until we get control of the Constitution again? That needs to be done, no doubt, but in the meantime we have a right and responsibility in the states to govern properly. Further, I’m not convinced that immigration should ever have belonged solely to Congress and the Exec Branch; perhaps it was always reserved to the states anyway.

    This bill has a chance at creating some solutions and I applaud your leadership, Holly, as a great communicator especially. Thanks for being a catalyst for the dialog even if it makes you a target for some very mean and threatening comments – Kudos.

  18. JBT Says:

    I would hope that each and every Utah lawmaker would be required to pay out of their own pockets the legal costs of defending this unconstitutional bill that is surely going to be challenged in the courts. Perhaps if it were their own money on the line they would think twice before passing these “partisan ideology” bills dressed up as “principles”.

    Utah can ill afford to spend taxpayer dollars to support these puffed up “message bills” directed at the federal government when the needs of its poorest citizens and school children continue to be underfunded.

    Maybe that could be a citizen’s referendum—a bill to require legislator’s themselves to pay the litigation costs that result from the idiotic message bills they seem to pass each session.

  19. Speckk Says:

    I was a delegate at the Republican state convention last year when the verbose, heavy-handed and inflexible anti-amnesty language was added to the party platform. The voting was relatively close, at the end of a long emotional day when everyone just wanted to leave. The recently amended text reads:

    IMMIGRATION
    America is a stronger and better nation because of the hard work and entrepreneurial spirit of legal immigrants, and the Republican Party honors them. We believe that control of our borders is an urgent national security interest and our national sovereignty depends on those secure borders.
    We oppose illegal immigration and all forms of amnesty, or legal status, for illegal immigrants. We support suspending automatic U.S. citizenship to children born to illegal immigrant parents. We oppose granting government benefits to those illegally present in the US. We oppose any temporary or “guest” worker program that would offer an automatic path to citizenship. We believe that current laws against employing illegal immigrants should be vigorously enforced, particularly to stem the now too common crime of identity theft in obtaining employment.

    While it would be nice if we could actually achieve those goals without becoming a ruthless police state that rounds up everyone who doesn’t visibly match the state’s historical ethnic makeup, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

    At some point, our basic common law recognizes the rights of people who have lived somewhere for several years. Just change the legal term of “adverse possession” into “adverse citizenship.” While I don’t like some of the economic, cultural and demographic results of ballooning Utah’s 2.8 million population, sorting out the good people fleeing the drug wars caused by failed American prohibitionism from the people causing and propagating those wars helps fight lawlessness (read: restore rule of law).

    When I received a factually incomplete and alarming phone call from rep. Sandstrom, I followed his advice to call the governor, but told the receptionist that I’m a state delegate that wants a compassionate solution to illegal immigration and HB 116 was a step in that direction. After all, the party platform is about principles and ideals before rigid implementations, and as a free, intelligent American, my country’s institutions and parties are beholden to me, while I only owe them the respect and deference that they earn by their actions.

    In other words, keep up the good work Holly!

  20. TDP Says:

    Can I break into you home and live in you house for a fine of $2500? Can I move my family into your house that I broke into for another $10000? Can I use your social security number to work?
    It’s personnel when they break into your home. Well this country is my home and the broke in. They come here illegally. How do you pass a background check if you came here illegally?
    You would be upset if someone broke into your home and started to live there. Why are you not upset that someone broke into you country and is stealing from those that live there or those that move here legally. And it is stealing. Identities, health care, food stamps, education, jobs…. There is NOTHING honest in breaking into a country or home!

  21. John Says:

    My understanding is you can’t become a GOP delegate unless you agree with everything in the GOP platform. So if they’re changing the language of the platform every other year, but you already have to agree 100% with the platform just to become a delegate…

    Is the Utah Republican party controlled by only about 50 people?

  22. Arual Says:

    Thank you. In part because of my personal experiences, in part because of good, hardworking people that I know, and in part because of my knowledge of history, I believe we must approach illegal immigration with compassion and understanding. People are people, no matter where they were born, what language they speak or how they came to live where they live. Immigrants of any kind deserve at least as much respect as you or I, and we must acknowledge their contributions to our communities.

    Thank you for being level-headed, thank you for seeing that the issue is not black and white, and thank you for giving us an example of intelligence and compassion.

  23. Pops Says:

    Where does the Utah State Constitution grant the authority to decide who can and who cannot live in the state of Utah? Enforcement bills clearly overstep the bounds of the rule of law. The challenge we face as a state is to figure out how to make the best of a bad situation, not behave like a bunch of vigilantes.

  24. JBT Says:

    Who are you stranger, and what have you done with the real “Pops” with whom I disagree on every issue? You are making far too much sense to be him. 🙂

    Every one of the sanctimonious and hypocritical “let’s deport the lawbreaking illegal aliens who are taking our resources” crowd are lawbreakers themselves every time they travel the freeway to work and exceed the speed limit by 20 miles per hour, and possibly every time they fill out their tax returns. Many of them are also the biggest leaches on the state’s resources in that they have a house full of children and pay less in state taxes to provide for their education than does the childless retire couple living on a fixed income.

    Now bring the real “Pops” back so he and I can get into a good argument about something.

  25. Nathan Schulzke Says:

    Your argument is flawed.

    First off, the polls. You say that the vast majority of Utahns want a guest worker program. That may very well be the case. However, the poll question was not about an unconstitutional State guest worker program. I believe, given the recent constitution-hype in the 2010 Senate Elections, that Utahns will not approve of a guest worker program instated in clear violation of the Constitution.

    You say that amnesty means giving citizenship. That’s not what the formal definition means. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary amnesty is “the act of an authority (as a government) by which pardon is granted to a large group of individuals”, which is exactly what this bill does. The penalty for immigrating here illegally, as set out by the unenforced Federal immigration laws, is deportation. By only making them pay a small fine, and then giving them permits, you, in effect, pardon them.

    You say you are telling the Feds to do their job, but the bill you passed is something that the current administration has voiced approval for. So they obviously aren’t feeling too much pressure from you. Who are you really pressuring? The Republicans in Congress who refuse to pass bills like this one, because they legitimize the illegal immigrants here, thus encouraging more?

    I did like you asked, and read the bill, and it makes me even more determined to see this through.

    The bill repeatedly refers to illegal immigrants as “undocumented workers” which is something that, up until now, only amnesty proponents have done, in order to legitimize those who are here illegally. The bill says that a “Guest Worker permit” may only be given to a resident of the state of Utah “who does not have a lawful presence in the United States”. This is an admission of a violation of federal law.

    Finally, the bill provides, if I understand correctly, that records pertaining to those who hold Guest Worker permits will be “protected”, and enacts Section 76-8-1505 to read:

    “(1) In accordance with a memorandum of understanding entered into by the state under Section 67-5-28, the department shall share one or more records in the database with the United States Department of Justice or the United States Department of Homeland Security as provided in 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1357(g) for the enforcement of federal immigration and customs laws.
    (2) Notwithstanding Subsection (1), the department may not share a record under this section related to the holder of a valid guest worker program permit.”

    The “database” referred to in Subsection (1) is, I assume, the database established in Section 76-8-1504, which only contains information obtained through Subsection 76-8-1503(2). This information is only gathered during a lawful stop, detention, or arrest, if the individual fails to display identification. Which means, basically, those who would lose any “permit” they had anyway. Whereas Subsection 76-8-1505(2) clearly indicates that the “department” may not provide the government with information relating to current holders of this permit. Meaning you, in effect, obstruct the enforcement of Federal immigration laws.

    This bill, in its entirety, is unconstitutional, and many of the provisions are also immoral. Read over the bill again, with the powers delegated to Congress in mind. This entire bill is based on taking over Congress’s duties. None of this falls under the 10th Amendment. Is there anything in the Constitution that gives States the right to take over from Congress if Congress fails to do its job?

    Now you have me sounding like Mike Lee…

  26. sm3tennis Says:

    Very well said, rational, and right. Thanks for your service to our state.

  27. Tim Says:

    HB116 and HB469 have serious issues. Not only do the conservative recognize it as surrender of established law illegal entry. But even the liberals recognize it as a grosss failure of human rights.

    Seriously, doesn’t the fact that one person can hold the other persons citizenship as a condition of employment Make anyone concerned? SLAVERY

    Hello prostitution, crime, etc…. This is a sick law and is morally repugnant hiding under the guise of “good natured folks”. This is corrupt business

  28. Ted Says:

    To Mark Steele,
    OK you are looking at me. Judging me for being hateful. I got ya. I really want to be compassionate and kind, but there are times that it really is hard. What about the fact that immigration attorney’s are now admitting that there are many people from not only this State but around the Country that are calling them asking about this bill. They are looking to come to this State and gain the amnesty that we are offering. Even Tony Yapias (sp?) admitted that illegal aliens are stealing the ID of people. So with the people that are trying to help these people admit the wrong doings that are being committed, how much more are we supposed to give? The Center for Immigration Studies said we paid out in the County of Los Angeles in the month of Feb 2010 $550,000,000 in support of illegal aliens. That is one month in one County alone. How much do we pay out per month in this Country? Where can I go for that kind of deal? With a national debt of $14 trillion and growing I don’t think we can afford to be so generous anymore. To the illegal aliens I say it is time to pay your own way. I can’t turn to my children and grandchildren and look them in the eye and say, “oh well, sorry your future has been mortgaged beyond your ability to pay. Too bad!” I won’t do that to them. We all have to take some responsibility at some time in our lives. I take responsibility for myself and my family. I will work hard to provide for my kids and grandkids, you take care of yours. Thank you very much! Ted

  29. Pops Says:

    I had some neighbors with a really messy yard, junk vehicles and all. The city refused to do anything about it. So, I suppose the “rule of law” allows me to go in and clean up the situation, given that the city won’t do it. Or maybe I would be justified because of the stench and the rats.

    Or maybe not.

    The state needs to figure out how to fix its problems within the context of the state constitution. The state doesn’t have the authority to decide who gets to live in Utah. If you don’t like that, sue the federal government for compensation. Utah’s challenge is to figure out how to make the best of the situation, not how to make the worst of it.

  30. Lolinder Says:

    Exactly. Which is why the State has no right to tell people that they *can* live in Utah, either. That is the federal government’s prerogative.

    In other news, the LDS church may have been blackmailed into taking a stance on this: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2676223/posts

    If Mexico took this guy’s proposal to heart, which they would be wont to do, this would explain everything. The fact that the First Presidency, head of the actual doctrinal affairs of the church, remains neutral while the Presiding Bishop, head of the temporal affairs, took a stance.

    It would also explain why the Utah House has such a difficult time explaining this bill. They didn’t really think about defending it, because in their minds, they’re helping the church out of a tight spot. But they can’t voice this reason, because that would be missing the point of giving in to blackmail.

    Of course, it could also be that this guy’s request has nothing to do with it, the Utah House really is as stupid as they looked originally, and the Presiding Bishop made a mistake. Take your pick.

  31. Greg Says:

    @Pops and @Lolinder,

    I’m curious about how you arrived at your conclusion that the federal government has the right to determine who has the right to live where in our country. I cannot find a place in the US constitution where that right is granted to the federal government. The 10th amendment plainly states that all rights not explicitly granted to the federal government are retained by the states.

    Could you explain to me how you arrived at the conclusion that the federal government can determine who can or cannot live in any particular state?

  32. Pops Says:

    I think you misread what I wrote, Greg, which is that states don’t have the right to decide who can or cannot live within their borders. I also agree that the federal government doesn’t have the right to decide who can or cannot live within any state.

  33. lolinder Says:

    The Federal Government has been in charge of immigration from the very beginning. In the early years, immigration was wanted and needed, in whatever quantities it could be gotten. So of course the Constitution says nothing about regulation of immigration, it was a non-issue at the time.

    However, through more than a century of legislation and court rulings, the federal government has been given the right to control immigration. Which, to use your phrase, is the right to determine who can and can’t live in the various states. We, as a state, have no right to legitimize people who, to use the bill’s language, have no lawful presence in the United States. The running of a guest-worker program, and regulation of immigration in general, has always been the job of a sovereign nation, which Utah is not and will never be.

    Imagine what would happen if every state set up its own immigration policies. Arizona could pass laws allowing them to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate anyone here illegally. California, and, it appears, Utah, could grant those same people everything but citizenship and the right to vote. This kind of chaos is what the Constitution was set up to prevent.

    While I disagree strongly with liberals who would treat the Constitution as though it holds no sway, and while I do believe it to be necessary to proper governance, I am not so daft to believe it is sufficient. Times change, things that were issues then are no longer issues now (does anyone debate the Federal Government’s right to print money anymore?), and things that couldn’t have been dreamt of as issues then are now debated hotly throughout the nation. While the Constitution outlines an ideal government, it did so from the perspective of the time of the authors, with considerable foresight, but not enough for them to have predicted every last thing.

    Thus, though I would argue that the “naturalization” mentioned in the Constitution as a power of congress does extend to immigration, this is not just a Constitutional issue. Common sense must take up the slack where the Constitution says nothing.

  34. Greg Says:

    @Pops and @Lolinder Thanks for the clarification.

    @Lolinder – I understand the where you are coming from when you say the federal government has the right to determine who can enter the country. Are you suggesting that due to the right to regulate who enters the country the federal government also has the right to regulate who is allowed to enter each state, thus regulating interstate travel?

  35. lolinder Says:

    Absolutely not. But someone in the Nation illegally cannot be in the State legally. Once they’re in the Nation legally, people are free to go to whatever state they chose.

  36. Pops Says:

    And it’s the responsibility of the federal government to do something about people who are here illegally.

    What the state can do is try to make the best of a bad situation. Putting people on the radar should be the goal, so that everyone pays taxes and there isn’t a labor black market. Treating people like crap because they’re here illegally will produce crappy consequences for everyone.

  37. lolinder Says:

    No one is suggesting that we treat them like crap. The feds have the responsibility to do something about it, and our job is to make sure they do. That involves passing an Arizona-style law, turning illegal immigrants arrested on other charges in to the proper authorities. What they do with them then is their business.

    What we cannot do is legitimize their presence here while our borders are still not secure. Attempting to mop up the water before stopping the leak is stupid.

    Until the borders are secure at a national level, I will never be in favor of any bill that establishes any kind of guest worker program for illegal immigrants. This isn’t about charity or caring for them, it’s about not encouraging further illegal immigration.

  38. Pops Says:

    … our job is to make sure they do. That involves passing an Arizona-style law…

    That’s flawed logic. The state can’t “help” the federal government enforce federal law by passing enforcement laws – it’s outside the scope of state government. If you think it’s okay, then is it okay for the federal government to pass federal enforcement laws to help the states enforce state laws?

    I suggest the way we help them is by suing the federal government for compensation for costs incurred by illegal immigration. The real problem is in Washington. The illegal immigrants are only doing what market forces encourage them to do.

    … it’s about not encouraging further illegal immigration …

    No, it’s about discouraging further illegal immigration by treating them like crap.

    Migration will always occur whenever there is a significant disparity in living conditions on either side of an unregulated border. The “treating immigrants like crap” solution only works if you can succeed in making the situation on the good side of the border worse than the situation on the bad side of the border. In other words, if we can make life here worse than it is in Mexico, the illegal immigration will stop. Do we really want to go there?

  39. lolinder Says:

    On your first point:

    I never used the word “help”. I said “make sure”, which is very similar to the language used by Holly above. Either way, Arizona-style immigration laws do help the Federal government out by turning people arrested on other charges over to Federal immigration officials if their immigration status turns out to be illegal.

    And now you are suddenly very much in favor of limiting the State government to its scope, which is what I’ve been arguing all along. You argue that it isn’t the business of the States to turn criminals over to the proper authorities, but that it is the business of the States to create guest-worker programs. This is, as far as I can tell, completely incoherent.

    On your second point (if it can be called such):

    Now you’re just repeating yourself. I already said that no one is arguing for treating illegal immigrants like crap. The Arizona immigration law doesn’t, Sandstrom’s bill didn’t, and I never suggested anything of the sort. For heaven’s sake, HB 116 provides that information regarding holders of “permits” may not be turned over to the Federal government, a protection even we, as citizens, lack.

    I’m all in favor of incorporating the illegal immigrants already here, once the border is secure, and the flow of new illegals is stopped. Until then, trying to incorporate illegals is an exercise in futility, as there will always be many more where the “incorporated” ones came from. I want to secure the border, then worry about the people already here.

  40. Pops Says:

    …to turn criminals over to the proper authorities…

    Since when does violating civil immigration law turn a person into a criminal? This is the kind of treatment I consider “crap”. Do you pay the Utah Use Tax? Do you violate the speed limit on the freeway? Do you roll through stop signs? Are you a criminal?

    You argue that it isn’t the business of the States to turn criminals over to the proper authorities, but that it is the business of the States to create guest-worker programs.

    There’s that criminal thing again. Do you take down the license plate numbers of everyone you see speeding on the freeway and send the list to the Highway Patrol? (I don’t recall having ever written in favor of a “guest worker” program. Those are your words, not mine.)

    I’m all in favor of incorporating the illegal immigrants already here, once the border is secure…

    That isn’t likely to happen any time soon. Sandstrom-style enforcement laws are not going to secure the border. They’re just going to harass a lot of people.

    I want to secure the border, then worry about the people already here.

    Good luck with that. If we’ve ostracized them all by treating them like criminals we’re not going to have much luck incorporating them into society. It’s going to be “us vs. them” in perpetuity. We’re going to sow the seeds of future conflict if we take the wrong approach.

  41. lolinder Says:

    Since when does violating civil immigration law … Are you a criminal?

    The criminal behavior I was referring to was non-immigration related. The kind where the Arizona law takes effect. And yes, breaking a law (the kind of law that earns you a misdemeanor or felony, not just a ticket) does make you a criminal. Your comparison is wholly unconvincing.

    There’s that criminal thing … the Highway Patrol?

    See point 1 for a response to your first sentence. As I mentioned, the moral equivalence between speeding and border hopping which you use in both point 1 and 2 is not particularly useful to the discussion. It’s as hyperbolic as comparing people to Nazis, though in the other direction.

    (I don’t recall having ever written … Those are your words, not mine.)

    HB 116, which you purported to support, institutes a “guest-worker” program (their words, not mine.)

    That isn’t likely to happen … going to harass a lot of people.

    I personally don’t believe that adding immigration status checks to standard background checks, and the subsequent turnover to federal authorities, qualifies for harassment.

    Until the Feds get up off their butts and get to work, the border wont be secure. And until the border is secure, I wont support any incorporation.

    Good luck with that … conflict if we take the wrong approach.

    The question is, what is the right approach? Of course illegal immigrants will feel ostracized when we try to enforce the law. Anyone who breaks a law because they feel it is useless will feel they’re unjustly arrested.

    Appeasement is not a solution to the problem. Treating illegal immigrants like citizens will not teach them to obey our other laws, it will do the dead opposite. If immigration laws can bend, who’s to say that laws against stealing, murder, rape, drugs, or anything else can’t also be bent?

  42. Smart Conservative Says:

    So Holly, you would rather have illegals getting the jobs than the Americans who are already citizens, you ma’am are very messed up.

  43. Pops Says:

    The kind where the Arizona law takes effect.

    Such as a broken tail-light… My, aren’t we a nation of criminals.

    …the moral equivalence between speeding and border hopping…

    This is not as trivial as you would like to make it sound. Are people who risk their lives to escape Cuba criminals? Should we have returned all those who managed to escape East Berlin?

    The fact remains that border laws are civil, not criminal, and apparently not serious enough to attract the attention of any recent federal administration. The state doesn’t have the authority to deport people and the feds don’t care. So what would you propose? Put them all in jail? Do you think turning 10 or 15 million names in to ICE will do anything besides alienate 10 or 15 million people?

    HB 116, which you purported to support…

    You’ll need to show me where I purported to support it. I think it’s a mistake to pass laws that are philosophically contradictory before we’ve hashed it out and decided what we need to do.

    I personally don’t believe that adding immigration status checks to standard background checks, and the subsequent turnover to federal authorities, qualifies for harassment.

    You might want to check with someone who paid thousands of dollars and risked their life getting here if that constitutes harassment. All the talk about “rule of law” means nothing to someone who comes from an environment of poverty and corruption. And if you don’t make any effort to understand where they’re coming from, you’re going to push a lot of people in a direction that won’t be healthy for anybody. It isn’t the role of government to act for God – it’s to govern.

    If immigration laws can bend, who’s to say that laws against stealing, murder, rape, drugs, or anything else can’t also be bent?

    If speed limits can bend, who’s to say that laws against stealing, murder, rape, drugs, or anything else can’t also be bent? (I agree in principle with what you say, but I think the prevailing attitude of immigration law violations being the equivalent of rape and murder to be more than a bit hyperbolic.)

    And this is where you again leave the reservation. States don’t have immigration laws. States can’t have immigration laws. States can’t deport people. States can’t deny entry to people. States can’t set up border patrols. You’re barking up the wrong tree trying to get the state to solve a federal problem. The challenge we face in our state government – which may, in fact, be impossible to meet – is to get all people living in the state on the radar while at the same time not encouraging migration into the state in excess of the natural demand for labor. Think neutrality – if we need laborers, we benefit from those who come here to work. If we don’t need laborers, we shouldn’t provide incentives for anyone – whether from Idaho or Mexico – to come here as laborers.

  44. Pops Says:

    …you would rather have illegals getting the jobs than the Americans who are already citizens…

    You’ve apparently never tried to assemble a crew to harvest labor-intensive crops. Americans who have nothing to offer beyond manual labor seem rather more content to lie about collecting welfare checks than working.

    There’s also the problem of the black market in labor. Putting everyone on the radar gives all a fair shot at every job. If you don’t like people flooding into the country driving wages down, perhaps you should have a chat with your US Senators and Representative.

  45. lolinder Says:

    Such as a … of criminals.

    The Arizona law does not authorize officers to check immigration status on routine traffic stops.

    This is not as trivial as … managed to escape East Berlin?

    The United States has an official policy on Cuban immigrants. That is: as soon as they make it here, they are here legally. The same applied to East Berlin.

    The fact remains that border … 10 or 15 million people?

    Section 1325 of Title 8 of the United States code provides for imprisonment or fining of illegal immigrants. That is criminal law, not civil.

    I propose doing everything we can to aid the Feds in their job until we secure the border. By legally acknowledging they live here without consequences, we legitimize their presence and encourage further illegal immigration.

    You’ll need to show me … what we need to do.

    If you don’t support HB 116 (the subject of this blog post), then what in heaven’s name are you doing defending it?

    You might want … for God – it’s to govern.

    You continue to treat this issue like it’s about being nice to illegal immigrants. Are you aware that the United States is helping Mexico along the path to ruin by letting all their workers come here, leaving nothing there but women, children, and criminals? Are you aware that illegal immigration has hollowed out entire villages? That may not be harassment, but it certainly isn’t nice of us to let them destroy their country like that. Nothing we do to them here compares to what we do by letting them leave their home to come here en mass in the first place.

    If speed limits can … more than a bit hyperbolic.

    Not really. A good portion of illegal immigrants participate in gangs here, which usually does lead to rape and murder. By explicitly disregarding one law, we do nothing to discourage their disregard for our others.

    And there’s that speed limit thing again. I keep saying this: comparing a law for which the maximum punishment is a couple hundred dollar’s fine to a law that has prison time attached is very hyperbolic.

    And this is where you … solve a federal problem.

    Which is exactly what HB 116 does, one of Holly’s arguments in favor of it. It sets up a state immigration law, and not a particularly good one at that.

    The challenge we face … natural demand for labor.

    Getting everyone on the radar would certainly be a good idea. But the problem is this: if you have people on the radar and you don’t enforce the law, you legitimize their presence in the United States and encourage further illegal immigration. So I would rather have illegal immigrants just barely under the radar until the Federal Government stops the inflow.

    Think neutrality … come here as laborers.

    And, at the moment, we don’t need laborers. No where in the country is there a shortage of laborers, whether skilled or unskilled. In this economy, we lack jobs, we don’t have a surplus.

    There is no doubt that immigration law needs a serious overhaul. There is no logical reason why it should be easier for Mexicans to get here illegally than legally. But comforting the ones already here doesn’t make any sense at the moment. We need to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, relax legal immigration laws, and then deal with the illegal immigrants who are already here.

  46. Pops Says:

    I don’t support HB 116 – I’m commenting here to oppose policies that will cause more harm than good.

    The Arizona law does not authorize officers to check immigration status on routine traffic stops.

    Au contraire:

    Kris Kobach, a University of Missouri Kansas City Law School professor who helped draft the law tells York that “lawful contact” means “the officer is already engaged in some detention of an individual because he’s violated some other law. … The most likely context where this law would come into play is a traffic stop.”

    Would be okay to rent a bunch of buses, round them all up and ship them back to Mexico? Just go door-to-door on a regular basis, ask for papers, and if no papers are forthcoming, a free bus ride is provided. We should also set up ports of entry and require documentation before anyone can enter the state by air or by ground. Why support half-way measures? That only encourages illegal immigrants – it gives them hope that they can avoid detection.

  47. 112th US congress…politicians on probation, the agenda-part 2 | Common Sense Conversation Says:

    […] Utah’s Immigration debate (hollyonthehill.wordpress.com) […]

  48. Nathan Schulzke Says:

    I don’t support … harm than good.

    I’d be interested to hear what you propose to do, then.

    Would be okay to rent a bunch of buses, round … hope that they can avoid detection.

    That is what we call a straw man, and they’re notoriously easy to argue against.

  49. lolinder Says:

    Whoops. Looks like I got logged out of my WordPress user. The above is me.

  50. Pops Says:

    That is what we call a straw man, and they’re notoriously easy to argue against.

    Not really. It’s more along the lines of reductio ad absurdum.

    All of the proposed legislation, whether an enforcement bill or HB 116, all look pretty much the same to an illegal immigrant. Each bill describes what the illegal immigrant must do to remain in Utah. Enforcement bills are worded negatively, but the message is that to remain in Utah one must avoid traffic stops and other contact with law enforcement. Guest worker bills are worded positively and have to do with self-identification and fines. But the end result is the same: ICE doesn’t have the means (or the motivation) to do much about it, so as long the illegal immigrants follow the guidelines contained in the specific legislation, whether positive or negative, they will be safe.

    From a pragmatic perspective, it would be better not to ratchet up fear of the local police by illegal immigrants, as nobody is better-positioned to help ferret out the real criminals.

    To really solve the problem requires doing something along the lines of my previous comment.

  51. lolinder Says:

    Not really. It’s more … reductio ad absurdum.

    Which could be defined as a form of straw man. Either way, it’s a logical fallacy.

    From a pragmatic … the real criminals.

    And I’m open to arguments for doing nothing at all until we get people in the US Congress who will solve the problem in front of us. But programs that offer even partial amnesty cannot be passed until the borders are secure. And since you say you don’t support HB116, it seems we agree on that point.

    To really solve … my previous comment.

    If I’m reading this right, you’re saying that there is no real way to solve the problem? Because it is logistically impossible to deport every illegal in the country.

    I’m not quite sure why we’re debating, actually. If you don’t support HB 116, the only thing left to debate is Arizona-style immigration enforcement. And there, at least, neither of us could possibly convince the other to switch views. So what is the point of continuing?

  52. Pops Says:

    Either way, it’s a logical fallacy.

    Er, not so much. It’s a technique for exposing poor arguments – arguments which, when taken to their logical extreme, become obviously absurd.

    The reason we’re having this discussion is because I think the state needs to solve the state’s problems within the scope of state government, while others think the state needs to solve the state’s problems by acting as a surrogate for the federal government. In reality the state has no authority to remove illegal immigrants from the state and isn’t likely to get any help from ICE. Just today on the news I heard Obama lauding the fact that deportation of “non-criminal illegal aliens” has dropped significantly, so good luck getting any help with deportation of “non-criminals”.

    We’re having this discussion because some people think the problem can be solved by alienating a large segment of our population. The philosophy seems to be, “If we can make life crappy enough for them, maybe they’ll leave.” That’s a terrible philosophy. I think we need to figure out how to make lemonade instead of sitting around sucking on lemons.

    We’re talking about people who came here in response to market forces, not about criminals who’ve come here to suck us dry. Passing laws that attempt to repeal market forces is about as sensible as passing legislation to overturn the laws of physics.

    I don’t like HB116 because of the silly “Pay a fine and bring all your relatives to Utah” provision. I don’t like Arizona-style bills that burden our policemen with enforcing federal immigration laws and setting them up as bogeymen to illegal immigrants – it would be much better to require the courts to check papers after convictions are obtained, not the police. A criminal conviction of an illegal has at least a tiny chance of getting the attention of ICE.

    We do need to figure out how to get them above the radar, how to get them to view policemen as a positive influence in the community rather than something to be feared, how to make sure they are qualified to drive and have insurance, how to make sure they pay taxes, how to make sure they learn English, how to make sure they integrate into society rather than congregating in “Little Mexico”, how to make sure they aren’t exploited in the labor market, how to make sure they understand our laws and culture, how to make sure they don’t destroy our welfare safety nets, etc. We need to figure out how to leverage everyone who lives here to make Utah stronger, not how to divide Utah and make it weaker.

  53. lolinder Says:

    Wow, quite the long response.

    There’s no way for me to win this debate. Not all too surprising, considering I’m only 16, and you’re quite obviously an adult. My mind will not be changed, but continuing this is only draining my time, which could be much better spent. I’m unsubscribing from this comment section now. It was fun while it lasted. 🙂

  54. Pops Says:

    Playing the age card, eh?

  55. Adam Gale Says:

    http://www.repeal116.com/

    Please sign the petition folks and lets get this horrible bill repealed.

    Here are a list of some of the major flaws in the bill.

    Some Major Flaws with 3SHB116

    1. The bill opens the state of Utah up to a mass inflow of illegal aliens. The ready availability of high quality, fraudulent documents will allow virtually all of the estimated twelve to twenty million illegal aliens currently residing in the U.S. to show proof or residence or employment in Utah prior to the May 10, 2011 cut-off date for amnesty, since the state has no official record of illegal aliens who have lived or worked in Utah prior to May 10, 2011.

    2. The bill allows illegal aliens who are issued work permits to collect legally available welfare benefits. Those granted a work permit will be able to receive benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and WIC for their American born children.

    3. All illegal aliens who have committed crimes yet have not been convicted of those crimes will be allowed to obtain work permits. Thus, gang members involved in drug trafficking, extortion, assault and battery, etc. who live in Utah and who have not been convicted will get work permits as long as they have a job, which most do. Illegal aliens using Utah children’s stolen identities to get jobs will get work permits as long as they haven’t been convicted of identity theft. An illegal alien who is a convict in his home country will be granted a Utah work permit as long as he has a job because there will be no record of his crime in the U.S. A potential terrorist, who is not on the U.S. list of terrorists, who entered the U.S. on a visa and overstayed will be issued a Utah job permit, because he has no criminal record.

    4. The bill sacrifices the 50,000 to 70,000 Utah children who are the victims of illegal alien identity theft by ignoring the damage done to them and allowing those using their identities to live and work legally in Utah. (The provision in the bill to compensate the victims of identity theft only kicks in once there has been a conviction or guilty plea. This will only cover a handful of the tens of thousands of victims as these crimes are rarely prosecuted.)

    5. This bill disadvantages legal immigrants who played by the rules to pay the price in order to come to the United States legally. It also shortchanges all who obey and respect our laws by waiting their turn to legally immigrate to the United States. In addition, the work permit is only available to illegal aliens. Foreign nationals currently in the United States legally on temporary work visas are not eligible for the work permit.

    6. The bill is unconstitutional and yet it automatically goes into effect in 2013.

    7. The bill’s provisions to withhold Social Security and income taxes will only work if a waiver is granted. If the bill goes into effect without a waiver, employers will be in violation of payroll tax laws and subject to severe penalties should they hire a person with a Utah guest worker permit. Paying payroll and income taxes to the state will not meet federal requirements and will leave employers in serious legal jeopardy.

    8. The bill’s requirements to use E-Verify and U-Verify together will only work if the feds grant a waiver from current E-Verify requirements. Employers using E-Verify are required to use it for every new hire; thus they can’t use U-Verify as the bill mandates for new hires with Utah work permits, unless a waiver to the E-Verify requirements is granted. If the bill enters into effect without the waiver, it will create serious problems for employers.

    9. Under current federal immigration law, a waiver for this bill, allowing illegal immigrants to work, is not possible. It would require an act of Congress signed by the President to change existing law. As shown, this bill requires obtaining multiple waivers from multiple federal agencies. This is NOT a good solution under current federal law. For additional information, see the constitutional note at the very end of the bill.

    10.This bill also violates the following portions of the Utah State Republican Party Platform, which the Republicans swore to uphold– “We oppose illegal immigration and all forms of amnesty, or legal status, for illegal immigrants…We oppose granting government benefits to those illegally present in the US. We oppose any temporary or “guest” worker program that would offer an automatic path to citizenship. We believe that current laws against employing illegal immigrants should be vigorously enforced, particularly to stem the now too common crime of identity theft in obtaining employment.” And, “ We support the “Rule of Law” and believe in upholding the law of the land” http://www.utgop.org/docs/Utah%20Republican%20Party%20Platform%202009.pdf

    And from another perspective, those on the pro illegal alien stance, here is information about it.

    There is much talk about HB116 being a great start to comprehensive Immigration Reform although not perfect. This article is designed to explore the problems that it fixes, what problems it creates, and possible solutions to those problems.

    Documentation of illegal immigrants -This bill documents illegal immigrants who are currently living in Utah so that we will know where they are at all times. It requires them to pass a background check and obtain photo and fingerprint identity so that we are only allowing law-abiding illegal immigrants to live and work here. Why do we need this program to do this when we have a Driving Privilege card program that does the same thing?

    Crackdown on Employers – This bill mandates that employers who have more than 15 employees must use the e-verify and u-verify systems to determine the employment eligibility of a new employee.

    Collected Fees – HB116 attempts to mitigate the cost of illegal immigrants by imposing fees associated with the guest worker permit. These can be included to pay for fingerprinting, photo identification, etc. They are also required to pay expenses associated with taking classes to obtain an education in the English Language. What it fails to address is the rising costs of educating, medicating, and feeding illegal immigrants. It does, however, prohibit an illegal immigrant with a permit from filing for or receiving unemployment benefits.

    Contradictions – Lines 631-635 state that the implementation must be in accordance with Federal Law and respects the privileges and immunities of United States Citizens. Then in lines 669-672 it states that the program will be implemented on July 1, 2013 with or without a federal waiver. Lines 721-724 state that an illegal immigrant may be hired for 30 days before obtaining a guest worker permit, but lines 952-953 employers may not hire an illegal immigrant if they do not have a permit with no exceptions to the rule.

    Compassion – This bill attempts to show compassion toward illegal immigrants as well as US citizens. It allows businesses to hire for jobs that no one except illegal immigrants will take, thus showing compassion on US citizens. It allows illegal immigrants to work and live in a much better place than they were born in, thus showing compassion to the illegal immigra nts.

    Forgery – If an illegal immigrant forges documentation in order to obtain a permit or if he/she forges the permit, it is considered a class B misdemeanor and a civil penalty not to exceed $750. (lines 912-931) Would they also be subject to Federal forgery penalties? The bill does not say.

    Employer Penalties – An employer is given a fine not to exceed $100 on a first time offense for each illegal immigrant employee that is employed. A second offense imposes a fine not to exceed $500 for each illegal immigrant employee. A third offense suspends their business license for no more than a year. If an applicable license does not exist, a fine not to exceed $10,000 is imposed.

    Identity Theft – A fund will be created to compensate an ID theft victim. If the fund runs out of money, the victim will need to wait until more funds are added to be compensated. There is no crackdown on identity theft in this bill.

    Determination of Immigrant Status – This bill has a section that is basically Sandstrom’s “enforcement” bill and allows HB497 to supersede that section.

    Loophole #1 – HB116 provides that an illegal immigrant may work for a “person” for a period of 30 days before obtaining a permit. (again lines 721-724) There are no penalties for not obtaining a permit other than they are unemployable for that employer until the illegal immigrant obtains the permit. They could potentially find a new employer every 30 days and legally work in Utah without a permit. Also, after a two year period, the slate is wiped clean and they will be able to work for the first employer that hired the illegal immigrant. (lines 729-731)

    Loophole #2 – Only employers with 15 or more employees need to verify the legal status of their employees. There are many companies in Utah that employ less than 15 employees. Illegal immigrants will be able to gain employment from these companies without a permit. Maybe not legally, but it sure leaves the door open.

    Ongoing challenges – Although this bill has been touted as being a comprehensive illegal immigration reform bill, it is far from it. I deals mainly with illegal immigrants who are not breaking any laws other than crossing the border. It does not address how we will treat illegal immigrants who come here after May 10, 2011. What will we do with them? Pass more legislation that allows them to stay here because they came here for the right reasons? It does not address ID theft/fraud. Our Attorney General stated in 2009 that illegal immigration is the biggest source of identity theft. When are we going to crack down on this? I know that it is not only illegal immigrants who use stolen identities, but controlling it would go a long way toward discouraging illegal immigrants to come here.

    How are we going to prevent guest worker permits from being forged or at least keep forged permits from being accepted? As can be seen, there are a lot more problems that will need to be solved. This bill creates more government to interfere and more problems for government to fix which will expand government even more.

    The question we all need to ask ourselves: Was the passage of this bill really worth being looked at as the state with compassion and all the answers if it creates this many problems and leaves this many challenges unanswered?

  56. hollyonthehill Says:

    Adam, you are passionate about this issue, but much of your information is simply not accurate. I know these are the talking points being circulated by the anti-116 crowd, but it doesn’t make them true. Here’s one specific example: Sandstrom’s enforcement bill supersedes the enforcement arm in 116. It’s spelled out in Sandstrom’s bill and he testified to that fact during the debate on HB 116. These arguments are full of strawmen. I know we’ll have ongoing discussion on this issue, and you’ll see more blogs from me, but just because one email is being circulated claiming to be the final word on this issue does not make it so.

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