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Immigration and the Utah Legislature

Immigration and the Utah Legislature



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

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The actions taken by the Utah Legislature on unlawful immigration are attracting national attention, and in one noticeable way, it's the kind of attention Utah should be proud of.

While there is no universal praise or condemnation for what the specific laws will do, there should be mountains of praise for how the work got done.

You could describe it as an atmosphere of contentious, but collegial compromise -- lawmakers with sharply opposed points of view, actively listening to each other, sincerely seeking middle-ground leadership coaxing the various parties in order to come up with something that would accommodate a vast open range of ideas.

The process was not easy -- and the result is not perfect -- but it is an approach that is distinctly more thoughtful, and more practical, than what has emerged from other statehouses.

And, as is the case with the fruits of most compromise, not everyone is happy.

Civil Libertarians will likely challenge the enforcement component of the law, even though it was wisely amended to avoid putting police officers in a position to be accused of profiling. Anti-immigration groups will likely challenge the guest-worker provisions, which they see as granting sanctuary to lawbreakers.

None of the provisions can take effect without a federal waiver, and the process of applying for such a grant will generate even more national publicity, which is exactly what nearly everyone on both sides of this issue wanted in the first place -- to send a message to Washington that action is urgently needed.

When the message is received, our nation's leaders should pay close attention to not only what Utah has done, but how we did it -- in a rare spirit of bipartisan accommodation that Washington would be wise to embrace.

E-mail: cpsarras@ksl.com

Con Psarras

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