State lawmakers have not called their plan a be-all, end-all to the thorny illegal immigration dilemma. They call it a start to dealing with Utah's estimated 110,000 undocumented immigrants.
But that start has left a sour taste in many mouths.
Latinos fear the enforcement component will target them as illegal whether they are or not.
"Now they have to look over their shoulder to make sure they're not being discriminated against," said Santiago Dirzo, of United for Social Justice.
Tea party activists, 9/12ers and some Republican delegates contend the guest worker program will flood the state with illegal immigrants and ultimately lead to amnesty. The guest worker program does not provide a pathway to citizenship.
"This ought to be called the 'Grapes of Wrath' bill," said Rep. David Clark, R-Santa Clara.
Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, pushed enforcement and opposed the guest worker provision in HB116, which he says is full of holes.
"I think it's going to scare the heck out of people when they realize the ramifications of HB116," he said.
Sandstrom said he wouldn't be surprised to see lawmakers trying to repeal it this time next year.
Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, a driving force behind the legislation, said the bills were worded to comport with the Utah Compact and Gov. Gary Herbert's six guiding principles on illegal immigration reform.
A group of civic, business, religious and political leaders drew up the compact to foster civil discussion of the issue. It urges federal solutions and policies that don't unnecessarily separate families. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints did not sign the document but endorsed it.
ACLU of Utah executive director Karen McCreary says the bills contradict both the compact and federal law.
"These bills have been pitched as a kinder, gentler version of Arizona's discriminatory law," she said. But, she said, the enforcement measure is no different in that it encourages racial profiling and could hinder local policy agency's ability to enforce other state laws.
Sandstrom spent 10 months working on the enforcement-only bill and ultimately had to tone it down to make it palatable. Still, "I think it shows Utah is serious about enforcing the rule of law," he said.
Salt Lake Police Chief Chris Burbank is more concerned about the rhetoric than the practical aspect of enforcing the law.
"This is one of those kinds of decisions that will change the face of law enforcement," he said.
"Law enforcement should not be immigration agents.That's not our role," he said.
Layton Police Chief Terry Keefe said the bill "looks like something we can live with."
Local government and police agencies found Sandstrom's initial proposal onerous and costly.
The final version in many ways reflects what police already do and will not add to their workload.
"In some ways we've ended where we started," said Keefe, president of the Utah Chiefs of Police Association.
Senate President Michael Waddoups described the bills as a "well-rounded" program that provides illegal immigrants the opportunity to work and allows police to be more aggressive in ridding the state of criminals.
"You'll find there will be fewer illegal immigrants," he said adding those committing crimes "will be worried enough that they'll go to other states or go home or be incarcerated."
Said Waddoups, "People on both sides don't like it. But I think people in the state of Utah will say we did a good job."
Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche
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