The state of Utah took a different path than its neighbor to the south (Arizona for those of you who are geographically impaired) in passing its own immigration bills last week. One of the new Utah laws is an immigration enforcement measure, which requires the police to check the immigration status of anyone arrested for a felony or serious misdemeanor charge. The other law creates a guest worker program in Utah, which was something that endorsed by the Mormon Church according to the New York Times.
For me, the proliferation of these state level immigration laws underscores the need for immigration reform at the federal level. I don’t particularly “like” either one of these Utah bills because I can foresee a looming federal challenge, yet I do think that these Utah laws aren’t as extreme as some of the others that have become law in Arizona (SB 1070) or that are pending in Arizona.
Last year, I spoke with an immigration activist in Utah about the “immigrant list”, which made national news, and if you want a refresher about some of the issues surrounding immigration and Latinos in the Beehive State, check out this link.