Trigger dates for two immigration laws pushed back to 2015

Published: Thursday, March 14 2013 10:50 a.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Two immigration-related laws passed by the Legislature in 2011 were effectively shelved until 2015 under a bill that achieved final passage Thursday in the Utah House of Representatives.

SB225 impacts laws related to guest workers and a pilot program to allow Utahns to sponsor foreign nationals. The laws were passed as HB116 and HB469, and both were slated to go into effect this summer. The passage of SB225 pushes back their enactment dates to July 1, 2015.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, said he introduced the legislation in recognition of congressional Republicans' and Democrats' expressed willingness to address meaningful federal immigration reform.

The House, which neither debated nor discussed the bill, voted 51-21 to extend the trigger dates of the laws. The bills were part of package of legislation passed two years ago during an often contentious legislative session in which immigration issues dominated the Legislature's agenda.

Another immigration enforcement measure passed in 2011 remains under review in U.S. District Court. The law, passed as HB497, has been temporarily enjoined until U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups rules on a motion for preliminary injunction.

In November 2011, civil rights organizations filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Utah law. A few months later, the Department of Justice intervened in the lawsuit. The parties have argued that Utah's law violates the Fourth Amendment and usurps federal authority, among other objections.

Utah's guest worker law includes some of the same language as the immigration enforcement measure being challenged in federal court. Bramble said the lawsuit did not enter into his decision to introduce SB225 this year.

E-mail: marjorie@deseretnews.com

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