Utah Legislature passes package of immigration bills

Published: Friday, March 4 2011 3:00 p.m. MST

• Require police to check the immigration status of people detained or arrested for felonies and class A misdemeanors; give police discretion to check the status for those suspected of class B and class C misdemeanors.

The bill allows illegal immigrants in the state prior to May 11, 2011 to be eligible for the guest worker permit, which Rep. Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara, not just opens he door to illegal immigrants but opens the barn door.

"We're giving two months of all-y, all-y in come free," Herrod said.

Wright said his colleagues were too hung up on the May 11 deadline.

"We're talking about 60 days. So guess what? We'll have nothing in place," he said. "Unless we take one tiny step forward we're going to get the status quo."

Sandstrom, R-Orem, said afterward he would have preferred the status quo.

Bramble apparently put off some House members in the drafting of his own illegal immigration legislation. His comprehensive proposal, SB288, includes key provisions lifted from several bills, including Rep. Stephen Sandstrom's enforcement-only measure.

"I don't know why anyone would be offended by his effort," Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, said of Bramble. But "it's sometimes better to take the emotion out of it or the personalities out of it."

Reid, the Senate sponsor of HB116, praised Bramble's efforts as head of the so-called Coalition of the Willing, which has been meeting since early in the legislative session to draft a "Utah solution." The group comprised of various stakeholders in the debate, including Reid, has worked behind the scenes to draft a bill that would comport with the Utah Compact and Gov. Gary Herbert's six principles on illegal immigration reform.

That effort put Bramble and Sandstrom at odds, although they are now working together on the migrant worker program. HB466, which would establish a partnership with the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon to supply workers to Utah, sailed through the House and Senate on Friday.

The House approved a new version of Sandstrom's enforcement-only bill Friday morning without debate. A Senate committee iced his HB70 this week, saying it polarized the community. The Senate then approved the new bill Friday.

That bill, HB497, is almost identical to the previous measure but altered enough for the Senate to find palatable. Waddoups said it is his understanding the measure meets the Senate's desire. And per a previous agreement with the Senate, Sandstrom's enforcement bill will trump that provision in Wright's bill.

Sandstrom said he believes the bill has gone a long way to meet the needs of police agencies that initially had heartburn over its provisions

"We do need an enforcement bill," Sandstrom said.

Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche, Amanda Verzello

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com

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