Bucking the conservative trend on immigration policy, Utah's GOP-controlled legislature is enacting a law offering work permits to illegal immigrants who have not committed serious crimes — a policy that won't work unless the Obama administration grants Utah a waiver to employ U.S. illegal immigrants. (Meanwhile, a second provision allows police to grill criminal suspects on their immigration status.) Will this new approach in Utah — "the reddest of the red" states — change the contentious debate on immigration?
Yes, Utah could be the model for reform: Finally, a conservative alternative to Arizona's crackdown, says Mara Liasson at NPR. This shows that Republicans can find a compromise, enforcing the law while allowing people already here "to work and drive without fear of deportation." President Obama has been promising to fix our immigration policy, and Utah's new guest-worker law could force him "to speed up his timetable."
"Utah's new immigration law: A model for America?"
Too bad it's unconstitutional: Immigration advocates are jumping for joy, says Liz Goodman at Yahoo! News, saying Utah has found a "more moderate and business-friendly" way to solve our immigration problems. The trouble is that Utah's policy, in the words of the American Civil Liberties Union, "directly contradicts" federal law, which means it's "unconstitutional." Arizona's get-tough policy took all the heat, but Utah's law is "no more legally sound."
"Are Utah’s new immigration laws constitutional?"
This is refreshing, however it turns out: This policy brings Utah's 110,000 illegal immigrants "into a lawful, constructive framework," says the Houston Chronicle in an editorial. Businesses support it because they need the workers. The Mormon Church likes the idea of not separating families through deportation. Maybe now Congress will see it's possible to "formulate a workable immigration policy" everyone can live with.
"Utah immigration bills could signal welcome shift from Arizona-style polarization"