Due to recent events with the Senate and powerful interest groups trying to cram (Br)amnesty through while blocking enforcement (HB70), I understand the sensitivity to the release of a bill entitled “Migrant Workers and Related Commission Amendments” especially when two captains of amnesty (Bramble and Shurtleff) helped draft the bill. As someone entirely opposed to amnesty, I ask you to read HB466.
1. It provides no amnesty. It is unavailable to those living here illegally. If you are here illegally, you will not get a permit. The only way to enter the program is to reside in Mexico (specifically Nuevo Leon).
2. It takes away the business argument that they need illegal workers. They have no excuse as legal guest workers could be obtained. Further, they must show need (ie no current US citizen/immigrant available for job) and demonstrate they will not depress market wages in hiring the migrant worker.
3. The program when coupled with current E-Verify requirements will encourage illegal and potential illegal immigrants to either return home or stay there and enter through legal means. E-Verify enforcement (see HB253) would strengthen this even further.
4. The bill cooperatively works in a current federal visa framework. The Federal Government would be involved and would not be expected to challenge the bill.
5. Representative Sandstrom (the sponsor) has been a stalwart on the issue and has consistently refused to back any form of amnesty.
1. The committee established could be stacked with bias favoring business or other interest groups. Based on those making the appointments, illegal immigration advocates could be favored. However, this type of concern exists anytime a committee is established. The best (and most effective) way to prevent this is to stay involved and publicly scrutinize appointments. If you stay involved, balanced committee membership should be established.
2. No company is required to use the SAVE program. This isn’t huge – there is no current requirement to use the program but it would be nice if companies hiring visa holders were also required to use the SAVE program. SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements) would help prevent visa document fraud by confirming the alien is indeed the cardholder. However, if employers are coordinating well with the visa program they should know who they are getting so no one can sneak in with a forged document.
3. E-Verify enforcement would significantly help. E-Verify is required but there is no penalty affixed. Representative Herrod’s HB253 is being blocked by the Senate and would affix a penalty for an employer not using E-Verify and knowingly hiring illegal labor (illegal immigrants, fugitives, other ID thieves). Please contact your Senator and ask them to request HB253 be brought to the floor.
4. Only Nuevo Leon in Mexico is eligible and, if successful, we need to make sure the program is expanded to other countries (including overseas) to give people a fair shot at entering if they desire to be part of this program. If the program is limited to Mexico – I would oppose it as no one country should gain the entire benefit. The bill does address this by allowing the Governor to expand the program to other counties.
As I see it, the benefits outweigh the concerns (many of which are addressed in the bill), encourages legal behavior and does not reward illegal behavior at the expense of honest immigrants. Another bill shows great promise, if amended, is Representative Dougall’s HB469 which places financial responsibility on the immigrant’s sponsor and limits the immigrant to Utah which should pass under the 10th Amendment but the Federal Government could challenge the bill.
To sum: These individual bills address enforcement (HB70), prevention (HB253), and labor concerns (HB466 and HB469) without granting amnesty and rewarding honest behavior. Each of these bills should be individually voted on (and passed) while perverse incentive omnibus legislation (SB288) crafted behind closed doors should be dropped. Please contact your legislators and encourage them to support the bills that reward and protect legal behavior.