Ron Mortensen, founder of the Utah Coalition on Illegal Immigration, said he believes the piecemeal approach "is probably a good idea in the sense we need to take care of first things first," such as border control and interior enforcement.
"If you have an overflowing wash basin, you don't bail out the water. You've got to stop the water and then figure out what the problem is," he said.
Mortensen said he prefers the approach the Utah Legislature takes by dealing with issues in individual bills because each has to stand on its own merits.
The comprehensive immigration bill passed by the Senate was tantamount to buying votes, he said.
"The defense contractors made out like bandits. There's $5 billion for security measures in it for them," Mortensen said. "When you start doing those big bills, they become Christmas trees and everyone wants to hang their ornament on it."
Mark Alvarez, a Spanish language radio talk show host and attorney, said he does not wholly oppose a piecemeal approach so long as the House addresses "the critical issue of legalization first."
"Most of the piecemeal arguments I've heard sound like a pretext to keep immigration reform from passing or to delay legalization," he said.
Matheson said it is too soon to know what form House legislation will take. However, he believes there is momentum to address the issue.
"You’ve had an immigration bill pass one half of the Congress already, and that hasn't happened during my career. There's clearly more momentum than there has been in the past," Matheson said.
Whatever the House does, it won't be soon enough for Fuentes.
"We wish they would decide now," she said.
"Many people, we came for good. We came to work, to move forward and to live better," Fuentes said. "We want to feel like, yes, they're going to do something."
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