Group plans lawsuit over new immigration law

Save Story

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Federal lawsuit might put a stop to a Utah anti-illegal immigration law. A team of lawyers plans to file the suit to stop Senate Bill 81 from taking effect on July 1.

The team of immigration attorneys says SB81 is not only bad public policy, but there are parts that are unconstitutional.

The sweeping legal changes within the bill came about, in part, over frustration about illegal immigration in Utah.

Lance Starr, one of the immigration lawyers taking on the case, said, "The Constitution clearly places immigration and naturalization issues under the complete and plenary control of the federal government, and states have no business legislating in this area."

Specifically, there are four parts of the law the lawsuit will address:

  1. A requirement that employers use E-verify to confirm legal status. The lawyers say a system is already in place: the Federal I-9 form.
  2. The new law would require proof of citizenship for a driver's license or state ID. The lawsuit will claim that leaving immigrants without ID will create more problems than it solves.
  3. Law enforcement agencies' additional responsibility could affect due process in the effort to find and weed out illegals. Illegal immigrants under arrest could be denied bail unfairly.
  4. The law would penalize people for "harboring" illegal immigrants. The issue is too arbitrary, the lawyers say. For example, if a church is assisting a family in need, would that be considered "harboring"?

The attorneys claim each issue is either unconstitutional or overly vague and unenforceable, but the majority of the Utah Legislature disagrees.

Most lawmakers feel SB 81 should be allowed to go into effect, partly in fairness to immigrants who are trying to work within the system.

"I'm after anyone that's here illegally in this country, and I support strongly individuals that come here legally to work and to participate and those who want to come here and participate in the American dream," said SB81' sponsor, Rep. Mike Noel.

Several law enforcement agencies have said they will not enforce SB81 if it becomes law. However, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff says he will defend the law.


Story compiled with contributions from Richard Piatt and Andrew Adams.

Related stories

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

KSL Weather Forecast