"Our state was held up as a model for a civil attitude on immigration issues," she said. "We couldn't possibly be presented in a more positive light. The tourist bureau and chamber of commerce couldn't buy such good publicity."
The Utah Compact deserves the nation's attention, said Sen. Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, because "It's feasible. It makes sense."
Though he acknowledged that the New York Times stamp of approval was unlikely to "give us a lot of help here in Utah," Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said he hoped it would inspire others in the nation to take a more compassionate approach to immigration reform. More than 20 states have filed law-enforcement focused immigration bills since Arizona passed its law.
"If Utah can be a model for other states who want to do something different than what Arizona is doing, then I'm very pleased," Shurtleff said. "I really believe we have a better way of approaching this problem than just rounding them up and shipping them out. There's a comprehensive, reasoned, compassionate way we can deal with this issue."
The Utah Compact was authored by a group of political, business, religious and law-enforcement leaders to guide the state's immigration discussion. So far it has gathered about 2,500 signatures. Among the signers are the mayors of Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, former Governor Olene Walker and former U.S. Senator Jake Garn. To get more information about the compact, visit utahcompact.com.
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