Yapias said the House of Representatives has an opportunity to take up the issue this summer. If it doesn't, Americans need to pressure President Obama to do more to address the nation's broken immigration through executive orders, he said.
Yapias said he continues to encourage people who are not authorized to live in the United States but living productive lives to tell their stories. Understanding the human side of immigration changes hearts and policies.
That's what happened with Sandstrom, he says.
After the passage of HB497, Sandstrom took part in a panel discussion in West Valley City. After the presentation, a girl named Sara whose parents brought her to the United States from Mexico when she was 3 years old, told him she had graduated from a Utah high school and she was facing a dead-end future.
Because she wasn't authorized to be in the United States, she had no Social Security number. But she had ambitions, given her high marks in school. But the most gutwrenching part of her story was that she viewed herself as an American.
Sandstrom said his intent in sponsoring HB497 was to help police "identify the criminal element in our state, the ones who had felonies or were under deportation order for felony convictions."
Waddoups' decision carved out sections of the bill Sandstrom said he later became uncomfortable with and left intact other sections he believes support the permissible efforts of law enforcement. He does not think the law should be repealed.
Sandstrom said he now knows much more about immigration, particularly the lives of people affected by the nation's broken system. Congress needs to move on comprehensive reform, he said. The future of national Republican party may well depend on Congress's handing of the issue, he said.
"Maybe I was being a little myopic," Sandstrom said of his handling of HB497 in 2011.
"I think my views have actually changed a lot since the passage of the law."
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