Guest Worker Program, Immigration, Legislation, Politics, Undocumented Workers

Editorial: HB116 is not SB1070

From Standard.net, “OUR VIEW: HB116 is not SB1070” by the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board, 22 Apr 2011.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, can be as mad as he wants that the federal government doesn’t seem as concerned about Utah’s immigration laws as Arizona’s, but the truth is Utah’s law, HB116, is not the unconstitutional mess that Arizona’s enforcement-only law, SB1070, is.

Utah’s law, which may still be contested by the feds, is a sensible solution to immigration. Arizona’s is not; that is why the feds decided to challenge it soon after it passed.

Smith has accused the U.S. Justice Department of hypocrisy for aggressively contesting Arizona’s law and not Utah’s law. In a letter, Smith told U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that while Utah’s law, which sets up a guest-worker program and registers illegals in order to keep track of the workers, is in his opinion, clearly unconstitutional. Arizona’s, Smith adds, “merely complements and assists in the enforcement of federal immigration law.”

That’s not true, though. What Arizona’s SB1070 law does is target people who look Hispanic. It requires that these people submit proof, when a law enforcement officer deems it necessary, of citizenship. Besides looking a lot like racial profiling, it is not the responsibility of state and local law enforcement to do the work of federal agents. Besides, state law enforcement will already hold an illegal guilty of a crime for federal review and deportation under curent procedures.

In contrast, Utah’s law — which will not take effect for two years so that Utah can receive feedback from the feds — merely asks illegals to register in Utah so they can work. Obviously, those with a criminal record would not be allowed to work here. The law recognizes the reality that Utah needs immigrant workers. It makes sure that those illegals who work here and who are otherwise law-abiding residents will be able to do their jobs without harassment and contribute to the state economy.

Utah’s HB116 is not a path to citizenship. It is not amnesty. It is a sensible solution to our immigration problems. We’re pretty confident that the feds will see the wisdom of the new law.

Arizona’s law, by contrast, is a spiteful, impotent attempt to lash out at scapegoats defined by their color of skin. That’s wrong. We agree with Gov. Gary Herbert and Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who told Smith and his allies to stop bothering Utah and do their own jobs.

Source: Standard.net, “OUR VIEW: HB116 is not SB1070” by the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board, 22 Apr 2011.

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