CRITICAL UPDATE (10/3): I made an error. HB469 does NOT pass constitutional muster and should be repealed. For details see the recent post: Admitting Error: A Constitutional Call To Repeal HB116 And HB469
UPDATE (3/1): Representative Dougall is aware of the oversight and plans to correct it…and has an amendment ready. YES!
UPDATE (2/28): Let down: reading through HB469 appears that illegal immigrants currently present in the state would be eligible. That hangs on the bill’s definition of “Foreign national” and Section63G-12-202 which do not exclude illegal immigrants. Hopefully, that will change if/when the bill is heard. Another bill to watch, however, is HB466…depending on the details.
UPDATE (2/22): HB469 still has no text so it may be going nowhere. Nevertheless, the bill would be intriguing IF it adheres to what is stated below based on the news article. As usual, the devil is in the details but, right now, there are no details at all and it looks like that isn’t going to change. That means the only bills left dealing with ‘guest workers’ are those that grant amnesty, disadvantage current and prospective legal immigrants, and have Constitutional problems making them totally unacceptable.
Here are two bills that may seem to conflict but, in my opinion, are complementary. Some of you with false preconceptions about this blog may need to take a seat before reading this…
First, HB 70 (Illegal Immigration Enforcement Act) is Rep Sandstrom’s bill which establishes State enforcement measures related to illegal immigration, limiting illegal immigrant access to public, tax-funded benefits and services, provides the ability for victims to seek redress against sanctuary cities, and directs resources to battle human trafficking.
Now hold your seats: HB 469 (Alien Friends Amendments) by Rep Dougall would allow anyone to sponsor an immigrant to come into the state with the requirement that the sponsor is responsible for all financial obligations for the immigrant. That means if the sponsor does not provide health insurance for the immigrant, and an ER bill is due, the sponsor must pay – no passing anything on to taxpayers. Additionally, the immigrant must stay within the state and can not move/work out of state. That is an important consideration as it, in my opinion, would pass constitutional muster as no interstate travel nor commerce would occur and everything is strictly handled within the state (nicely fitting under the 10th Amendment). Better yet, the bill is limited to sponsorship of those currently abroad, thus not providing amnesty to illegal immigrants, but favoring those trying enter legally. Big time kudos to Rep. Dougall for this bill.
Several legislators have refused to merge immigration bills into an omnibus bill – this too is a smart move. By keeping them separate, each bill retains its focus and can be debated on its individual merits. Omnibus bills, besides being unfocused and unwieldy, tend to fail as they provide excuses for legislators to avoid taking a position (ie they can use the “I would have voted for it except for X and Y provisions” excuse). Omnibus bills are notorious ‘crap sandwiches’ – inevitably there’s going to be something in it that each legislator and their constituents can’t stand. Separating bills allows everyone to make a clear decision and take a clear position on each issue with little room for spin and excuses.
Both these bills will need your help. The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is likely to go into overdrive (the ULCT may help too) to oppose HB70 and, I suspect, will work in the background to oppose HB469 as well since they’re pushing Rep Wright’s amnesty bill and have a hankering for corporate welfare (which would be denied by the HB469 sponsor responsibility provision). Then there’s the opposition that relies on extortion and violent threats.
Please politely, but firmly, contact your Representative and ask that they support these bills. While you’re at it, please also look at HB253 which would introduce penalties for businesses who willfully violate state law on identity verification and hire illegal workers (illegal immigrants, fugitives, deadbeats, identity thieves etc) – you may also want to ask for their support of that bill (the Chamber is opposing it too).