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Momentum now favors HB116

Published: Thursday, April 28 2011 10:13 p.m. MDT

"I have a son on an LDS mission in a foreign country, and I understand that the church is in a delicate situation especially with Mexico," Duncan said. "We have so many missionaries (in Mexico) that the Church has to be perceived as being not racist and not anti-Mexico in particular and being tolerant and compassionate.

"There's plenty of evidence to show that the Mexican president has been putting pressure on the church, so I understand their position. But I have received no direct direction from the church as an officer in the Republican Party to take any particular stance on HB116."

A lot may be riding on Saturday's vote. In the event the Utah County GOP handily approves the resolution on Saturday calling for HB116 to be overturned, Lockhart foresees a similar resolution coming before the state Republican Party later this year. He contends that such a scenario could alter the future of Republican politics in Utah by placing the slew of Beehive State Republicans who belong to the LDS Church in a potentially untenable position similar to what LDS Democrats faced in the 1970s, when the Democratic Party began embracing "the feminist, hippie movement."

Even if HB116 remains on the books — it doesn't become enforceable law until 2013 — its supporters ultimately view the bill as a stopgap until the federal government acts to corral illegal immigration.

"Most of us involved with (HB116's) passage anticipated there would be critics of the legislation both on a local and on a national level," Reid said. "As far as I'm concerned, that's all part of the debate, and the debate will continue to rage in each one of the states until Congress begins to do their job and passes national legislation to resolve all of the issues surrounding immigration.

"Those people who are criticizing HB116 are misplacing their efforts; their energy should be directed at the Congressional delegation and all of Congress to do their job, to do their duty and create an immigration policy for this nation."

jaskar@desnews.com

twitter.com/askargo

Marjorie Cortez contributed to this article.

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