The Salt Lake County Council voted 7-2 to support the Utah Compact, a statement of principles intended to address with moderation and civility "the complex challenges associated with a broken national immigration system."
Council members David Wilde and Steve DeBry voted against the resolution.
"This is an endorsement of amnesty for people coming to the United States illegally," Wilde said, noting that amnesty would be an affront to legal immigrants who have "jumped through hoops and waited in line."
DeBry, who works in law enforcement, said illegal immigrants make up a considerable portion of the criminal caseload in drug cases.
While he appreciates society's responsibility to take care of "our brothers and sisters," the compact sends the wrong message.
"Doggone it, there's a right way and a wrong way to do it. This shouldn't even be on our plate. We don't even have a dog in this fight."
Councilman Randy Horiuchi said signers of the Utah Compact, who included Salt Lake City Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, former U.S. Rep. Jim Hansen and former Republican former governors Mike Leavitt and Olene Walker, were "profiles in courage."
Meanwhile, Councilwoman Jenny Wilson said her inclination was to "fall on the side of compassion and deal with people as sensitively as possible even when I have to pay the price as a U.S.-born citizen."
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a "statement of support" for the Utah Compact calling it "a responsible approach to the urgent challenge of immigration reform."
Recently, the Salt Lake City Council unanimously endorsed the Utah Compact.
— Marjorie Cortez