Photo: Rep. Stephen Sandstrom
The bill, HB466, is sponsored by immigration foes Rep. Stephen Sandstrom and co-sponsored by Sen. Curt Bramble and would allow businesses in Utah who need labor to directly solicit it through Nuevo Leon. The approach would work within federal guidelines where legal visas are distributed by the federal government with the state acting essentially as middleman.
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff agreed that the bill does not address the issue of the 110,000 undocumented immigrants currently living in Utah, it does address a legal method for employers to hire employees when they can’t meet the need with US citizens.
The bill would establish a 25-member panel to oversee the process, including representatives from the governor’s office as well as state-level elected officials and members of the public.
There is another immigration bill being considered in Utah to address the undocumented immigrants already in the state. Sen. Luz Robles, who is also pitching SB60 as a pilot program that seeks to allow those in the state to be accounted for and documented so they can work legally, said this bill was “a state solution that is a reality.” Robles’ bill is awaiting a chance to be heard on the Senate floor. It has been criticized for being unconstitutional — though she said she thinks the federal government would grant a waiver to run it as a pilot program.
The Bramble-Sandstrom offering, however, operates within the confines of current federal law and requires it to issue H2 visas — something the state cannot do now.