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Immigration Legislation in Utah: Will Other States Follow?

Utah’s Republican Governor Gary Herbert has recently signed into law some significant immigration legislation that has caused a lot of controversy.

Governor Herbert signed four bills he named “the Utah solution.” The bill will bring changes in two major areas: 1) enforcement of immigration violations and 2) employment of immigrants in Utah.

The enforcement aspect of the bill would allow the Utah police to check the immigration status of anyone stopped who is arrested for a felony or a serious misdemeanor (unlike the Arizona program which allows for an immigration status check of people who are stopped for traffic violations).

The employment aspect revolves around a guest worker program where immigrants would be able to pay a fee and get some type of temporary work permit to continue their jobs.

Herbert has been the target of complaints and criticism coming from Tea Party activists and anti-illegal immigrant groups. Those groups are calling Utah’s work program an “amnesty program” but they seem to be fine with the enforcement aspect of the bill.

Regardless of how you feel about the subject, I think we can all agree that immigration law is something we need our politicians to discuss with more frequency. And those we elect should do it not because it gives then an “edge” in the next election or because it gives them the publicity that they seek, but because immigration is something that affects us all and impacts thousands of families, many of whom we call our neighbors and friends. The problem will not go away on its own. As an immigration lawyer I’m just happy the issue is being discussed rather than being ignored.

The Obama administration has praised Utah’s guest worker program. Utah is passing legislation and taking the lead on issues that the federal government should be participating in. Maybe Utah will help to motivate our Congressional delegation to get involved. Immigration lawyer all over the country are watching.

Our immigration law firm serves clients in Travis County, Williamson County, Hays County and Bastrop County, including Austin, Round Rock, San Marcos, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, Lakeway, Westlake, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Kyle, Wimberely, Buda, Lago Vista, and Dripping Springs. We also offer phone consultations regardless of where you live. If you need immigration help, call us 24-7 at (512) 329-2770.

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