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  • Provo, Utah

  • Salt Lake City, Utah

  • LDS Church takes public stance on immigration legislation
    By Peggy Fletcher Stack, The Salt Lake Tribune, 3/15/2011

    The LDS Church stepped from the sidelines on immigration reform and squarely onto the playing field Tuesday by sending Presiding Bishop H. David Burton to attend and speak at Gov. Gary Herbert’s signing ceremony for four bills passed by the Utah Legislature.

    "Our presence here testifies to the fact that we are appreciative of what has happened in the Legislature this session,” Burton said at the signing, indicating it was no accident or private decision. "We feel the Legislature has done an incredible job on a very complex issue.”

    Burton, who oversees the Utah-based churchís financial affairs, joined key legislators, business leaders, activists and religious figures such as Utah Episcopal Bishop Scott Hayashi and homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson in the Capitolís Gold Room for the signing.

    Burton’s presence was an extraordinarily public endorsement for the LDS Church, which typically prefers to work in the background. And it has supporters and critics from within the faith scrambling to know how to react.

    One thing is clear: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has abandoned its claims to neutrality on these bills.
    States left to deal with immigration fallout
    By Brad Dee and Scott Jenkins for Desert News, May 17, 2008

    The answers to our immigration issues are complex. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution because at the very heart of this issue are people and the desire of the human spirit to be free and flourish.

    People, their life stories and circumstances, come in many shades of gray, making immigration reform a very delicate matter. That is not to say that we should ignore the rule of law, but it should be supplemented with an understanding of human nature and its role within the rule of law.
    Immigration key issue in 3rd District
    By Tad Walch for Desert News, May 17, 2008

    Chances are, something about illegal immigration makes you mad.

    One way we know that is a striking exit poll conducted during the 2006 Republican primary by the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy at Brigham Young University.

    Results of the poll showed that 88 percent of voters thought the issue of illegal immigration was important to their decision between incumbent Rep. Chris Cannon and challenger John Jacob in the race of Utah's 3rd District congressional seat.

    June 2006 was awash in national attention about the Cannon-Jacob contest. Of all the zany ideas, CNN came to our Orem newsroom to interview me about the race. The whole thing reminded many people of June 2004, when tons of out-of-state money from immigration special-interest groups poured into the campaign coffers of Cannon and his Republican opponent that year, Matt Throckmorton.

    Fast forward to June 2008 and the latest Cannon primary battle, and the Bush administration and Congress still haven't managed to do anything to reform immigration in this country.

    That should make all of us mad.

    Meanwhile, Cannon's back asking for your vote and facing yet another primary with a challenger attacking him on illegal immigration. Cannon has high marks from many national immigration groups, but challenger Jason Chaffetz, as was Jacob and Throckmorton, is less compromising.

    Legislature dropped the ball by not acting to curb illegal immigration
    By Don Guymon for The Salt Lake Tribune, May 11, 2008

    In the Utah Legislature's 2008 general session, both chambers passed Senate Bill 81, an omnibus illegal immigration bill. The bill had several good measures to curb illegal immigration. Unfortunately both chambers put off implementation until 2009 so further research could be done on illegal immigration.

    It is surprising that individuals would feel the need to study the issue of illegal immigration further. Why do we need to wait a year when this has been studied for many years? Is not the fact that some individuals are here illegally enough?

    SB81 would require county sheriffs to verify the immigration status of foreign nationals; would prohibit the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission from granting liquor or private club licenses to individuals who are not in the country legally; would prohibit local entities from keeping their law enforcement officers from enforcing immigration laws; and would require employers who contract with the state to verify whether their workers are legal to work in the United States.
    Think tank: Utah should seek fed waiver to fix illegal immigration woes - Utah-based Sutherland Institute releases essay for Cinco de Mayo
    By Jennifer W. Sanchez for The Salt Lake Tribune, May 6, 2008

    The Sutherland Institute, a Utah-based conservative think tank, wants the state to request a federal waiver to allow it to fix Utah's illegal immigration problems.

    Under the waiver, Utah lawmakers could propose legislation to address the immigration issues affecting the Beehive State. For example, Utah could create an in-state work permit for undocumented immigrants living here. These and other ideas are discussed in the institute's essay, "Onus or Opportunity? Conservatism and Illegal Immigration in Utah," which was released Monday to coincide with Cinco de Mayo.

    Paul Mero, the institute's president who wrote the 21-page essay, said the federal government has enforced a system that allows millions of undocumented immigrants to freely roam the country, but they're not fixing the problems it has created nationwide.
    GOP convention to mull immigration resolution
    By Deborah Bulkeley for the Desert News, May 2, 2008

    Resolutions dealing with illegal immigration, energy independence and transparency in education will be on the table at the upcoming Salt Lake County GOP Convention.

    Alex Segura, a member of the Utah Minuteman Project, submitted the resolution calling on Republican delegates to oppose "illegal immigration and all forms of amnesty, or legal status for illegal immigrants." The resolution also calls for secure borders, an affirmation of the United States as a "Christian nation," support of traditional marriage, and preventing fraud in voting and obtaining public benefits.
    Immigration cops comb jails for criminal suspects in country illegally
    By Nate Carlisle for The Salt Lake Tribune, April 28, 2008

    SPANISH FORK - The federal agent again asked Javier Escudero-Gonzalez where he came from. Speaking Spanish in a Utah County jail interview room, Escudero-Gonzalez repeated his answer: the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

    The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent across the table flipped through the papers in front of him. Something didn't add up - the jail said Escudero-Gonzalez, booked a few days earlier on a drunken-driving and drug-possession warrant, was from Argentina.

    The agent must determine where Escudero-Gonzalez is from, and then how he entered the United States. Whether he entered legally or not, however, Escudero-Gonzalez is more likely than ever to be deported, as jails in Utah and across the country have become clearinghouses for federal efforts to enforce immigration laws.

    Along the Wasatch Front and in southwest Utah, immigration agents visit jails almost every weekday looking for immigrants who have been arrested by local police. And the patrols are gaining new emphasis.
    A call for sensible immigration reform
    By Lane Beattie and Deborah Bayle for The Salt Lake Tribune, April 19, 2008

    Utah and the nation need wise and sensible immigration reform to remove the great ambiguity and uncertainty surrounding this issue. We need laws that can be followed and rules that are clear and practical for businesses and individuals.

    Immigration was a hot topic in the last legislative session and continues to be a critical issue in the current election season. Gov. Jon Huntsman recently signed into law an immigration reform measure, but its consequences will be fully studied by a legislative committee and then in the next legislative session before it becomes effective in 2009.

    Because this issue is so important to Utah, a coalition has been formed to represent the views of many businesses, nonprofit organizations, religious institutions and many other organizations that support fair and sensible action. United Way of Salt Lake and the Salt Lake Chamber are the co-conveners of the Immigration Policy Coalition. Too often, only the extreme, emotional voices on both sides of this debate are heard.
    Anti-illegal immigration legislator forced into primary
    By Kristen Moulton for The Salt Lake Tribune, April 13, 2008

    HARRISVILLE - Incumbent Rep. Glenn Donnelson will have to survive a June primary if he hopes to make it to November's ballot and continue his legislative crackdown on illegal immigration.

    On Saturday, Donnelson failed to get 60 percent of the delegate vote in District 7 at the Weber County Republican convention.

    Challenger Ryan Wilcox had 45 votes to Donnelson's 44 votes.

    Republicans in two other Weber County districts picked their candidates for November. Incumbent Gage Froerer was the unanimous pick of the delegates in District 8 and Jeremy Peterson was chosen by delegates in District 9.
    Legislative committee to examine issues related to immigration reform bill
    By Robert Gehrke, Salt Lake Tribune, March 27, 2008

    A special legislative committee will spend the next several months studying the ins and outs of Utah's immigration policy, focusing on the provisions in a comprehensive reform bill.
    SB81, which passed the Legislature with a July 2009 implementation date for most of the provisions, penalizes government contractors that employ undocumented immigrants, requires a county sheriff to try to verify the legal status of someone arrested, and requires public benefits providers to try to verify a beneficiary's legal status.
    The committee will look at issues such as the legal status of children of undocumented immigrants, crime statistics attributable to the undocumented population, and providing in-state tuition to immigrants.
    It also will study provisions of SB81 which allows local law enforcement to help enforce immigration laws and makes it a Class A misdemeanor to harbor or transport undocumented immigrants.
    The committee will meet up to eight times in the coming year and consist of seven House members - five Republicans and two Democrats - and four Senators, three Republicans and a Democrat. The membership will be announced in a few days.
    Immigration backers urged to get involved
    By Andrew Kirk, Deseret Morning News, March 22, 2008

    Hispanic community leader Tony Yapias wants pro-immigration Utahns to get involved in grass-roots politics. Looking ahead to the partisan neighborhood precinct meetings this Tuesday, Yapias is encouraging Hispanics and other supporters to attend the meetings and ask to become delegates.

    He met with a handful of people Friday at the Centro Civico Mexicano to explain how to locate their neighborhood precinct meeting and how delegates are able to influence potential candidates. Yapias encouraged them to spread the information to their friends.

    "At the local level we can have a great impact," he said. "I've learned that delegates are the focus of attention for candidates. They want to court you first."

    Yapias said several bills debated in the last legislative session were aimed at limiting the freedoms of Hispanic immigrants. He hopes that by becoming more involved politically at the grass-roots level, immigration supporters will be able to stop antagonistic bills earlier.
    Controversial immigration bill is signed - Law modeled after one the toughest in the nation
    By Patrick Parkinson, Of the Park Record, March 18, 2008

    GOP Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. signed into law a controversial bill that is modeled after one of the nation's toughest stands against illegal immigration.

    The law will require Park City police officers and deputies in Summit County to begin cracking down on undocumented people by enforcing federal immigration laws.

    Senators and representatives who serve Summit County split their vote on Senate Bill 81, sponsored by Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George.

    Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal and Rep. Mel Brown, R-Coalville each voted for the measure. Rep. Christine Johnson, D-Salt Lake City and Sen. Allen Christensen, a Republican who represents the East Side, voted against the bill.

    The law will be enacted July 1, 2009 and could require some employers more closely verify whether people they hire are in the United States legally.

    The comprehensive immigration measure is modeled after a law in Oklahoma.
    Panel planning a study of new immigration law - Start date in 2009 allows time to evaluate sweeping reforms
    By Deborah Bulkeley, Deseret Morning News, March 14, 2008

    Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. signed into law a sweeping illegal immigration bill on Thursday. And legislative leaders said they're committed to moving forward with a study of the ramifications of SB81 before it takes effect in July 2009. "The governor thinks the important thing is there be a comprehensive discussion about immigration," said Lisa Roskelley, the governor's spokeswoman.

    Senate President John Valentine, R-Orem, said the delayed effective date of SB81 was intended to give stakeholders from the business to the health service communities an opportunity to evaluate its potential impact.

    "There needs to be a forum for people to come in and discuss the effects of Senate Bill 81," Valentine said. The task force could also look at new ideas, Valentine said, and bills that didn't make it, such as a repeal of a law allowing qualified undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition in Utah.
    Governor signs controversial immigration measure - Critics say SB81 wasn't carefully studied and will harm Utahns who don't look white
    By By Jennifer W. Sanchez for The Salt Lake Tribune, March 13, 2008

    Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. signed a comprehensive anti-illegal immigration bill into law on Thursday.
    The new law will allow local law enforcement agencies to enforce immigration laws and forces some employers to verify the U.S. documentation status of their workers. It goes into effect July 2009.
    "It's a good step forward on addressing immigration," said Lisa Roskelley, a spokeswoman for Huntsman.
    Earlier in the legislative session, Huntsman had said he didn't believe states should be passing immigration laws to deal with a federal issue. Roskelley said Huntsman changed his mind on the issue because he's hopeful the illegal immigration problem will be resolved by Congress and a new administration in early 2009 before the Utah law goes into effect.
    Illegal immigration debate key to Cannon's re-election bid
    By Matt Canham for The Salt Lake Tribune, March 10, 2008

    WASHINGTON - Rep. Chris Cannon's Republican challengers are once again attacking his position on illegal immigration.

    But, in a new twist, they also are attacking each other with claims of unrealistic proposals and outright flip-flopping.

    David Leavitt and Jason Chaffetz say they don't want their congressional campaigns to focus solely on immigration policy, like the past two attempts to unseat Cannon.

    But the hot-button issue dominates just about every meeting with the all-important delegates
    Not city business: Draper right to stay out of immigration morass
    The Salt Lake Tribune, March 7, 2008

    Immigration reform is a huge issue. It stretches across the country and involves millions of undocumented workers, thousands of businesses that hire them and layers of federal and state enforcement agencies.

    It's just too big to fight at the municipal level.

    That's why we applaud the Draper City Council for voting down a proposed city ordinance prohibiting businesses in Draper from hiring undocumented employees. Although well-intentioned, a local law would cause more problems than it could correct.

    The council wants to help prevent identity theft by undocumented residents who may use an already-issued Social Security number and rack up debt for the real owner, causing long-term confusion and financial misinformation.
    Utah delegation seeks more officers to battle illegal immigration
    By Matt Canham for The Salt Lake Tribune, March 6, 2008

    WASHINGTON - Utah needs at least 22 more federal immigration agents, according to letters sent Wednesday by members of Congress to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

    "Our jails are full. The crime rates continue to increase, and we can no longer let this problem escalate," reads one of the letters, signed by Utah's two senators and three representatives.

    The requests follow meetings Utah's federal delegation held with state lawmakers and the letters cite efforts by the state Legislature to fight against undocumented immigration.
    Comprehensive immigration bill headed to governor
    By Jennifer W. Sanchez for The Salt Lake Tribune, March 4, 2008

    Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is expected to sign a comprehensive immigration bill that would allow police officers to enforce immigration law and mandate some employers to verify that their employees can legally work in the United States.

    In a quick 24-4 vote, the Senate this morning approved amendments made to SB81 by the House. SB81 was supported by the Senate in a veto-proof vote last week.

    On Monday, the House also passed SB81 by a veto-proof margin. Only three Democrats - Reps. Janice Fisher, Karen Morgan and LaWanna Shurtliff - out of 20 in the House supported the measure.
    Governor comfortable with immigration bill
    By Jennifer W. Sanchez for The Salt Lake Tribune, March 4, 2008

    Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is expected to sign a comprehensive immigration bill if no more major changes are made to it.

    After making amendments to the proposal, the House approved the bill in a veto-proof 56-15 vote today. Only three Democrats - Reps. Janice Fisher, Karen Morgan and LaWanna Shurtliff - out of 20 in the House supported the measure.

    SB81 would allow officers to enforce immigration law and force some employers to verify that their workers can legally work in the United States. It now returns to the Senate - where it passed by a veto-proof margin last week - for approval of the House amendments.
    Immigration bills move forward as Huntsman urges patience
    By Deborah Bulkeley and Lisa Riley Roche for the Desert Morning News, February 28, 2008

    The Legislature opted to send a message to Congress Thursday to act on immigration reform and took another step toward tightening restrictions on undocumented immigrants' driving privilege cards.

    The House of Representatives approved a Senate resolution calling for federal balanced immigration reform which would take into account Utah's employers. The largely symbolic measure allows a formal message to be sent to members of Congress as a reflection of the Legislature's position.

    "We want action," said Rep. Sheryl Allen, R-Bountiful, before the 63-0 vote to approve SCR5.

    The vote came after Jon Huntsman Jr. said to the Deseret Morning News that he expects the federal government to act soon after the November election on immigration reform.

    "Our state does need to do something and recognize that, I think, the federal response is right around the corner," the governor said, suggesting there needs to be time for the federal government "to catch up and do what they're going to do."

    Earlier this week the Senate passed a comprehensive bill, to take effect in July 2009, that would clamp down on undocumented immigrants' prospects for jobs and public benefits."

    Latinos protest immigration bills - The group praised the governor for opposing 2 proposed measures
    By Nathan C. Gonzalez for the Salt Lake Tribune, February 24, 2008

    When Alvaro Lopez left Oaxaca, Mexico, bound for the U.S. in 1989, his goal was a better life for his loved ones.

    "I didn't come to this country because I wanted to. It was because I needed to," Lopez said. "I needed a better future for my family."

    Lopez said he is grateful for opportunities he has been given in the U.S. "This is a great nation," he said.

    He was one of about 100 Latinos who gathered Saturday at the Centro Civico Mexicano in Salt Lake City to voice opposition to several immigration law changes making their way through the state Legislature.

    The group praised Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. for his opposition to two proposed measures, one that would repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students at the state's colleges, and another that would repeal driving privilege cards for undocumented immigrants.
    Senate sponsor delays vote on anti-illegal immigration bill
    By Jennifer W. Sanchez for the Salt Lake Tribune, February 23, 2008

    It was anticipated that Utah lawmakers were going to vote on a comprehensive anti-illegal immigration bill on Friday, but its sponsor moved the vote to next week.
    SB81 is expected to easily pass out of the Senate in a final vote Monday. The Senate, in an initial 21-8 vote, approved the bill late this week.
    On Friday, after two days of tweaking SB81 on the Senate floor, the bill's sponsor Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, told lawmakers he wanted to give them the weekend to study the revised SB81 because several amendments were made to it.
    Gov is leery, but Senate expected to pass anti-illegal immigration bill today
    By Jennifer W. Sanchez for the Salt Lake Tribune, February 22, 2008

    The Senate is expected to pass a comprehensive anti-illegal immigration bill today, despite Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr.'s misgivings about the measure.
    Following an on-and-off debate that spanned much of Thursday, SB81 was approved in an initial 21-8 vote. All Republicans, except Sen. Kevin Van Tassell of Vernal, supported the bill. All Democrats, except Sen. Gene Davis of Salt Lake City, voted against it.
    With such a lopsided tally, the bill is expected to pass out of the Senate easily in a final vote today.
    The bill's sponsor, Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, made amendments Thursday to soften SB81 in a bid to win passage. The changes came after discussions with business leaders and church officials.
    Cannon: Immigration fix is not the states’ job - On undocumented workers, he says, ‘We shouldn't destroy the economy by removing them from the economy’
    By Sheena McFarland for the Salt Lake Tribune, February 21, 2008

    Congressman Chris Cannon said the states shouldn't be dealing with immigration reform.
    “It’s a federal problem,” he said Wednesday in a meeting with the editorial board of The Salt Lake Tribune. He said he realizes the federal government needs to find a solution.
    Cannon, a six-term Republican, pointed to the December 2006 immigration raids at Swift meat-packing plants, including one in Hyrum, Utah, calling them “inappropriate.” Some 150 Latino undocumented workers at the Hyrum plant were arrested and many were deported.
    He characterized the move as political.
    Senate approves revamped immigration bill
    By Jennifer W. Sanchez for the Salt Lake Tribune, February 21, 2008

    A comprehensive immigration bill cleared a major hurdle today in the Senate.
    After an on-and-off, 2-1/2-hour discussion that spanned much of the day, the measure was approved in an initial 21-8 vote. All Republicans, except Sen. Kevin Van Tassell of Vernal, supported SB81. All Democrats, except Sen. Gene Davis of Salt Lake City, voted against the bill.
    With today's lopsided tally, the bill is expected pass out easily in Friday's final floor vote.
    The bill's sponsor, Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, made five amendments to SB81 today after talking to business leaders in the past two days. He also said Senate leaders spoke to church officials to gain support for SB81.
    Anti-illegal immigration bill getting kinder, gentler overhaul
    By Robert Gehrke and Jennifer W. Sanchez for the Salt Lake Tribune, February 20, 2008

    Senators are reworking parts of a comprehensive immigration package to make the measure more palatable to the business community and religious leaders, its sponsor said Tuesday.
    Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, said he pushed back the Senate debate on his SB81 -- scheduled Tuesday -- until Thursday because some of the refinements to his anti-illegal immigration bill are still being made.
    "We're trying to get this bill to be a reasonable piece of legislation that is [as] business friendly as possible and yet maintains the standards we have set forth in the bill and I think we are at that point now," Hickman said.
    U.S. Rep. Cannon says states should butt out of immigration reform
    By Sheena McFarland for the Salt Lake Tribune, February 20, 2008

    Congressman Chris Cannon said states shouldn't be dealing with immigration reform.
    "It's a federal problem," he said Wednesday in a meeting with the editorial board of The Salt Lake Tribune.
    He realizes the federal government needs to find a solution.
    Major immigration bill held by Senate
    By Desert Morning News, February 19, 2008

    A vote on an omnibus piece of immigration legislation was put on hold today, with sponsor Sen. Bill Hickman, R-St. George, saying he's working on fine tuning the legislation to make it palatable to religious and business organizations.

    Describing the changes to SB81 as "word smithing here and there," Hickman said he wants to make the bill "a really fine piece of legislation."
    Hatch, Bennett: No Federal Immigration Changes in Sight
    By AP, February 19, 2008

    SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah's U.S. senators told the Legislature on Tuesday that changes to federal immigration laws won't occur until after the next president takes office -- and possibly longer.
    Arizona crackdown could add to Utah's illegal immigration woes
    By Nate Carlisle, The Salt Lake Tribune, February 18, 2008

    TEMPE, Ariz. - As Utah debates how to treat undocumented immigrants, Arizona is watching new laws and an economic downturn drive away those workers, likely sending many to Utah.