In recent weeks, Utah has passed a series of Immigration laws they said were intended as a collaborative approach to Immigration Reform. These bills are awaiting the governor's signature next week. The three bills are: HB 497, HB 116 and HB 466. (see Description below)
Overall, the bills are not supported by PRO or ANTI Immigration Reform groups.
PRO IMMIGRATION REFORM OPPOSITION:
The vast majority of Immigration Reformers primarily oppose HB 497. This bill promotes Arizona style Racial Profiling (eg: sb1070) and if signed, goes into effect in 60 days.
ANTI IMMIGRATION REFORM OPPOSITION:
The ANTI Immigration Reform Crowd, particularly Alipac, are up in arms against HB116. Why? Because the bill defines a Guest Worker type program with a clause that allows for a pathway to citizenship for some current undocumented workers IF they meet certain criteria. Alipac's William Gheen is so up in arms about this bill that he and his goon squad are calling for the "ouster of incumbent Senator Orin Hatch (R) and Governor Gary Herbert due to their support for Amnesty for illegal aliens, which would destroy America's borders." Gheen is also angry at the Mormon Church for supporting this bill and added "With the full backing of the Church of Latter Day Saints in Utah, these men are trying to pass an Amnesty that will increase the pain and suffering that innocent American workers, students, taxpayers, and voters are experiencing due to illegal immigration."
This bill does NOT go into effect until 2013 and even then, it will only go into effect IF the Federal Government grants a "waiver." An additional note in the bill indicates they recognize this bill is unconstitutional.
Utah has no intent on having this portion of the bill enacted. You would think that even Gheen could see this is merely a placebo to appease the masses on the side of Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
ACTUAL INTENT OF THESE BILLS:
The most interesting aspect of these bills is the third leg of the bill, HB 466. This bill sets up a "Sister State" program between Utah and Nuevo Leon, Mexico. This allows Utah to bring in temporary workers from Nuevo Leon, Mexico to pick their crops each summer and to ship them home at the end of the summer. Now we get to the ACTUAL INTENT OF THESE BILLS and why these bills were passed.
Who is pushing these bills? The state's Farm Bureaus, Big Business and the Mormon Church.
Why? They need Farm Workers to pick the crops. We currently have an AgJob worker shortage and as I have been reporting, with the bulk of our Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, we will soon be experiencing a severe worker shortage, particularly in the AgJob industry. Utah Farm Bureaus are seeing this, so is Big Business in Utah, so is the Mormon Church, and soon, so will other States.
It is clear. Utah's Immigration Bills do NOT support the PRO position. HB497 is clearly a redux of sb1070. HB116 is clearly a sham - a fake carrot. It was intended to appease the Pro Immigration Reformers. It is merely a false hope. The actual intent of these bills is clear. There is an AgJob worker shortage in Utah and this shortage will become massive over the next few years. Utah Big Business, Farm Bureaus and the Mormon Church have recognized this early. There is a NEED that MUST be filled. My suggestion: Try Real Immigration Reform and a pathway to citizenship. However, Big Business and Farm Bureaus don't want this. They want to continue to pay low wages, have unsafe working conditions and exploit workers so they can expand on profits.
My message to the PROs and the ANTIs: If you want to fight this battle, fight it for the RIGHT reasons and expose the Governor and Big Business and Farm Bureaus for what they are actually doing here.
DESCRIPTION - UTAH IMMIGRATION BILLS:
. HB 497: It is the same as Arizona's sb1070. It is a racial profiling bill that grants state and local law enforcement officers broad authority and discretion to enforce federal immigration laws whenever they stop, detain or arrest individuals. And, once signed, can go into effect as soon as 60 days.
. HB 116: This bill establishes a state "Guest Worker" program (separate from the federally-administered farm worker program), where Utah would set eligibility criteria to grant state temporary worker permits that allow some immigrants to work and reside in the state. Under the program, a small proportion of the state’s current undocumented residents who meet certain eligibility criteria would be eligible for state residency and work authorization. (pathway to citizenship) This legalization is contingent on the federal government granting a "waiver" to the state to issue these permits, and would not take effect until 2013, or 6 months after the federal government issues such a waiver. (NOTE: This portion of the bill is unconstitutional since only the Federal government is authorized to grant these work authorizations/visas and this is so noted in the bill).
. HB 466: This bill creates a 27 member state commission to issue Immigration recommendations and policy for the state. It also authorizes Utah’s governor to enter into a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Mexican state of Nuevo León to allow Mexican temporary workers to work in Utah.