Will Utah Become the Next Arizona?
With 110,000 unauthorized immigrants, Utah may be headed in the direction of Arizona taking on the hotbed issue of immigration reform.
Earlier this week, three Democrats and nine Republican Utah legislators from the house and senate headed south to meet with Arizona officials, religious communities, heads of the public school system, business leaders, and border-patrol agents to learn more about the impact of passing statewide immigration reforms.
The trip comes about one month after Utah’s Stephen Sandstrom released the draft of his controversial Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act. The bill has widespread support, but it also proving to be divisive even among his own party. Though, Michael Clara says the bill is only part of a witch hunt and it violates many aspects of the 4th Amendment.
Clara, the state chair for the Utah Republican Hispanic Assembly, believes the bill is not spearheaded by the Utah grass-roots movement as Sandstrom would have people believing, but actually by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
“Unless I’m blind, I’m just not seeing a lot of support for this. I think it’s just the fringes and the extreme right that supports what he is doing.” Clara expressed. “There is more support nationally on what he is doing than what he is going to get locally. Sandstrom’s bill is going nowhere. It’s dead as far as I can see.”
Many other Utah officials fear the bill will be as Democratic senator Luz Robles called it, “fiscally irresponsible.” Robles believes the cost to asking law enforcement officers to do their jobs outside their jurisdiction will be too high, as will the cost to create the facilities required for individuals that would inevitably need to be held.
However, Robles, and others like her, think legislation like Sandstrom purposed should still be attempted, and that is why she is one of the three Democrats to make the trip to Arizona. She is actually working on her own immigration bill and plans to unveil it next month.