Photo: Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
On Tuesday, Gov. Gary Herbert signed four immigration reform bills officially starting Utah’s attempt to “force the federal government to engage” in a debate that they have so-far ignored.
These bills, referred to as the “Utah Solution” are in response to lawmakers claiming the federal government isn’t doing enough to stop and punish undocumented immigration.
Arizona and a number of other states have butt heads with the Obama administration, because they believe that since the feds are not doing enough, the responsibility to address immigration issues falls on the state. Bills have been drafted and laws have attempted to pass, but each time, litigation delays the laws’ implementation.
“Part of the overall strategy here is to, in fact, force the federal government to engage,” said Herbert. “They’ve been on the sidelines way too long. They need to get in the game.”
Herbert’s signing of these four bills has not satisfied Utah’s Tea Party however. The Gov. was told by the party to veto guest-worker bill HB116, and he has so far not done it.
One of the people behind the state’s Tea Party, David Kirkham, was quite straightforward with the governor, who is running for re-election in 2012.
“The campaign started today,” Kirkham said. “He will be challenged, and we will be actively supporting someone else.”
HB116 would not take effect for another two years, but would allow the estimated 110,000 undocumented people in Utah to obtain work permits by paying a $2,500 fine or $1,000 fine if they overstayed their visa.
The permits would be issued through the Utah Department of Public safety and would require criminal background checks. They would also allow families to stay together, as they’d be included under the permit. This was an addition endorsed by the LDS Church.