Immigration Reform – Repairing a Broken System

There are a number of immigration bills that have been signed into law in the past and new bills this year addressing immigration issues in Utah.

Mark Alvarez, Utah  Attorney, had a piece published in the Salt Lake Tribune in which he says,

In 2000, George W. Bush said, “Immigration is not a problem to be solved; it is the sign of a successful nation.” Candidate Bush said he wanted to make policy friendlier to immigrants. That effort froze on Sept. 11, 2001.

In 2008, Barack Obama said that America had nothing to fear from today’s immigrants: “Because we are all Americans. Todos somos Americanos. And in this country, we rise and fall together.”

Congressional debate will begin soon. Three main questions are: 1. Who should be able to come here? 2. How should border and internal enforcement be designed? 3. What should be done with undocumented immigrants?

Alvarez continues on by addressing 6 “points of contention”:

1. Family-based versus employment-based immigration.

2. Temporary workers versus permanent workers.

3. Skilled workers versus unskilled workers.

4. Genuine employment verification versus the status quo.

5. “Path to citizenship” versus “amnesty.”

6. Illegal immigration versus legal immigration.

Read his points in their entirety here.

A Facebook group called Utahns for Immigration Reform has been created to advocate for a fair and just system of immigration for all people without violating anyone’s civil rights, regardless of immigration status.  The group calls for citizens to become engaged in the process of advocating for the repair of the current broken system and creating an equitable system for all people.   From the group’s page:

We can influence American immigration laws by being engaged in the process.

No person is illegal. Being undocumented is a violation of civil law, not criminal law. Federal immigration reform needs to happen now because the immigration system is terribly broken. We agree that all people should immigrate legally but in a broken system unfortunately that is not the reality.

The page continues on by describing how current legislation is damaging:

SB 81 is a now Utah law. The new law encourages racial profiling. Most law enforcement agencies in Utah understand that the law is an afront to civil rights and have refused to enforce it.

Immigration reform will make SB 81 unnecessary.

Cory Redstone, creator of Utahns for Immigration Reform issued this notice yesterday about SB251 Verification of Employment Eligibility and   HB 428 Non Resident Tuition Amendments

SB 251 is another employment verification bill. This bill mandates the use of E-verify for every employer, not just those contracting with the state as SB 81 did. Because E-verify has a %5 rate of inaccurate information this is just wasteful. Additionally the rate of failure could be used to discriminate against minority workers and cause undue delays in employment if a record is mistakenly flagged. There will be discrimination against businesses who are minority owned. They will face more scrutiny and undue harassment because of this law.

Make no mistake E-verify use is eventually going to be mandated on a federal level eventually but all of the kinks need to be worked out. We also need to see Comprehensive Immigration Reform so nobody works without documentation. Please call OR email your legislator and tell them to vote no on SB 251. Just one phone call from you can make a huge difference.

There is also a bill to take in-state tuition away from undocumented college students HB 428.

Here is the link to find your state Senator to call or email:
http://www.utahsenate.org/map.html

There is an analysis of HB428 at the Enriching Utah Coalition blog. (Read this coalitions mission and values here.)

Bills on immigration can be viewed here, but not all bills addressing immigration issues are in this category and in fact the bills referred and linked to in the above paragraphs are not listed on this page.  For example another bill that addresses health care for immigrant children up for consideration this year: SB44 Health Amendments for Legal Immigrant Children

One thing is evident:  The people must be engaged and getting their voices heard on these issues to address the unjust system currently in place.

(cross-posted to Utah Legislature Watch)

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